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Former Newfoundland soldier released from Iraqi prison, mother says

Last Updated Dec 7, 2016 at 9:40 am EDT

A Newfoundland military veteran arrested in northern Iraq last week has been released from prison, his mother says.

Kay Kennedy told VOCM radio that her son, Michael, was released Tuesday.

Her son had been arrested in Erbil in northern Iraq while taking part in what his mother called a humanitarian mission. A friend of his confirmed via text message he had been arrested after returning from northern Syria.

Kennedy said her son would not leave others he was travelling with when they were arrested for visa infractions, even though his visa had not expired.

He will be back in Newfoundland for Christmas, she said.

Federal cabinet minister Judy Foote confirmed Monday that Kennedy was in good health as Canadian Embassy officials worked to win his release.

The stress of having a son in a war zone is nothing new for Kennedy.

On April 8, 2007, her son Kevin was one of six Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan when their light armoured vehicle struck a roadside bomb. The six were all members of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.

“It’s not easy, especially after losing a son in 2007 in Afghanistan,” she said. “I haven’t been sleeping, just pacing the floors. I’m strong. I’m not falling apart … I’m doing what I got to do to get my son out of there.”

Kennedy is believed to be among hundreds of foreign volunteers, including other Canadians, assisting Kurdish forces in the area.