ALBUQUERQUE (AP) _ American journalist Paul Salopek returned home to New Mexico on Sunday, a day after being freed from prison in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region where he had been held for more than a month on espionage charges.
The Chicago Tribune journalist, who lives in Columbus, N.M., wore a slight smile as he got off a plane at the Albuquerque airport and later got big hugs from his wife and one of his editors.
Salopek, 44, was on assignment for National Geographic magazine when he was arrested Aug. 6 and accused of passing information illegally, writing ``false news'' and entering the African country without a visa.
Salopek was accompanied by Gov. Bill Richardson, who had traveled to Sudan on Friday to meet with President Omar al-Bashir and persuade him to release the journalist and his colleagues.
Salopek's Chadian driver, Abdulraham Anu, and his interpreter, Suleiman Abakar Moussa also were released. The two were to go to Chad, according to a story published Saturday on the Chicago Tribune's Web site.
Salopek's wife, Linda Lynch, and Chicago Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski traveled with him from Darfur to New Mexico. Chris Johns, National Geographic magazine's editor and chief, met the group in Albuquerque.