A doctor sentenced to six months by a Kurdish judge for writing an medical article about sodomy has been pardoned and released.

Adel Hussein was convicted under the 1969 penal code of offending “public customs” with his article in newspaper Hawlati and sentenced on November 24th in the city of Arbil, the capital of Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

Massoud Barzani, President of the Autonomous Kurdish Government in Iraq, granted the pardon on Sunday, one day before the Muslim celebration of Eid, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Dr Hussein’s was one of 121 pardons made in the region.

“We are relieved that President Barzani intervened to right this injustice,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney.

“We call on the authorities to ensure that the new legislation is enforced and that Adel Hussein is the last journalist to be sent to prison in Iraqi Kurdistan because of his work.”

A new press law that came into effect in October does not recognise violations of “public custom” as an offence.

Dr Hussein said he was shocked to be tried for the article since he has written three books and hundreds of articles on sex and health previously with no legal action, reports CPJ.

A member of the Union of Kurdish Journalists and local TV presenter, Dr Hussein was prosecuted as a result of a complaint brought by the city’s public prosecutor over a scientific article published in April 2007 that detailed the physical effects of sodomy.

He was fined 125,000 dinars (£72) in addition to his jail term.

The predominantly Kurdish region of northern Iraq, referred to as Kurdistan, is autonomous and has its own unicameral parliament.