Former Gambian Prisoner's Fast Track to Success, Imprisonment and Freedom

George E. Curry | 9/27/2012, 2:22 p.m.

"I called the president and the foreign minister returned my call," said Jackson. "They publicized our coming, which suggested something might happen."

Janneh, who served 15 months, had no expectation that he would ever get out of prison.

"This guy does not seem to be susceptible to pressure, so I thought I would just be there forever," he said. "To be called overnight to say Rev. Jackson is taking you out was quite unbelievable and it also fell on my 50th birthday - September 17th.

"The announcement was first made on TV, but we did not have access to TV. That was at 8 p.m. on the 17th of September. The guard came - he was not supposed to give me any information but I think he was so excited. He just came and said, 'I have some good news for you.' I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'You've been pardoned by the president.' He said, 'A reverend from the U.S. came and you've been pardoned.' Later it was announced over the air and the next day we were taken to the airport and handed over to him."

After flying from Gambia to Brussels and on to New York City, Janneh said his release did not sink in until he spent a couple of days in the U.S. enjoying long, hot showers. He plans to resettle in Savannah with his wife and go about his life recognizing that he has nothing to prove anymore.

"I will resume my IT business but now focusing on U.S. to Senegal," Janneh said. "And I have a book to write."