AM - Thursday, 7 June Reporter: Andrew Geoghegan
TONY EASTLEY: For the past three months Australian George Forbes has languished in a filthy jail in Sudan, not knowing if he would face a death sentence or not.
Mr Forbes and three colleagues were convicted of murdering a man who was found hanged in their company compound in southern Sudan, even though a post mortem later found the man had committed suicide.
A court now has finally acquitted the men.
George Forbes has been telling Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan of his relief to be free.
GEORGE FORBES: Finally common sense has come through. We always knew that our innocence would prevail; I suppose that's fantastic. I can't at this moment, really describe completely because it's not 100 per cent sunk in.
But all I can say is relief, a huge amount of relief.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Can you understand how you came to be held in jail for three months and indeed how you were eventually convicted of murder?
GEORGE FORBES: It started off with the Minister of Law Enforcement stating in the papers that we murderers. And to back his political credibility, he then, what we believe, was compromised the police as well as the magistrate and then the high court judge.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: You were convicted, despite an autopsy finding that the man had hanged himself.
GEORGE FORBES: Correct.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: George Forbes, just take us back three months and describe what happened when you walked into the Trax compound and found this man.
GEORGE FORBES: We came back from dinner around about midnight and my security told me there was a kawager (phonetic), which is tinker for a white man, which had broken into the compound and he seemed to be very afraid of his life.
He was running from something, but what we didn't know. We felt that it would be better if he stayed in the room. We locked him there, not maliciously obviously, but we're in a post war town.
If he decided to run for it, he would probably have been shot and it was during that time that he decided to commit suicide. It was the next day that we were called to make our statement, and it was then that we got arrested.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: And you spent much of your three months in custody, in jail. Just describe those conditions.
GEORGE FORBES: Conditions that, well, not even fit for an animal. It's absolutely appalling. We weren't in a closed cell, we were in an open cell, so we were exposed to all the elements.
We were living pretty much in human faeces a lot of the time, there was a lot of cholera, typhoid, which I eventually contracted. A lot of very sick people in there.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: George Forbes, the maximum penalty for murder in south Sudan is death. Did you feel as though you could well have been sentenced to death?
GEORGE FORBES: They told us time and time again that we would be eventually sentenced and hung because you… under their law, you're sentenced to death in the manner the deceased was killed.
You know, it was too surreal for it really to sink in that we were really going to go that way, you know, all of us were too confident that one day, common sense would prevail and justice would be served.
TONY EASTLEY: Freed Australian George Forbes, talking to correspondent Andrew Geoghegan.