Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tobin Flies Out With a Smile

Freed American student John Tobin left Russia on Wednesday, five days after he was released on parole from a Voronezh jail after serving half of a one-year drug sentence.

Smiling as he made his way through customs, Tobin flew out of Sheremetyevo Airport to New York City, according to Delta Airlines' Moscow office.

Standing outside before boarding, Tobin said he was looking forward to seeing family and friends and that the thing he most wanted when he got back was a hamburger.

"I'm real happy to be going home … and I look forward to seeing all my friends and family," Tobin said, smiling.

Tobin, 24, was accompanied by his father and U.S. Congressman James Maloney, who represents Tobin's home district in Connecticut, as well as U.S. Embassy officials.

Asked by reporters to name the most important thing he was going to do, Tobin replied: "Just to rest and relax and catch up on all the news back home and to have a good time. It will be interesting to share some of my experiences and hear the experiences of others who saw this from the other side."

Tobin declined to answer further questions, saying he would hold a question-and-answer session in the United States.

Tobin's case gained wide attention after security officials said Tobin was believed to be training to be a spy. His father has said that his son claimed the Federal Security Service tried to recruit him and that he believed he was jailed because he had refused.