SYDNEY -- An American man convicted in the drowning death of his wife during a honeymoon scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef was released Thursday from an Australian jail.
But he was not immediately deported to the U.S., where officials want to try him over the death.
Immigration officials escorted Gabe Watson from the Queensland state jail where he served an 18-month sentence to an immigration detention center Thursday morning.
He will be held there until Australia -- a staunch opponent of capital punishment -- receives assurances that he will not face the death penalty in his home state of Alabama, a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said on customary condition of anonymity.
Watson pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his wife of 11 days, 26-year-old Tina Watson, during a 2003 scuba diving trip.