A day after The Washington Post published a story about Baljit Singh, a Sikh man who has spent more than a year in jail in Kabul because Afghan officials say they don’t believe he’s Afghan, jailers roused the 23-year-old from bed early.

Baljit Singh, 23, an Afghan Sikh, at the jail in downtown Kabul on Dec. 27. (Ernesto Londoño)

Singh and his lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said the article about the unusual detention prompted Afghan authorities to release him.

“This feeling,” a radiant Singh said in an interview over Skype. “I can’t explain it to you.”

Singh, who says he was born in Afghanistan and left as a child, was imprisoned after the British government deported him in summer 2010. He says fellow inmates and guards taunted, harassed and beat him for being a Sikh. Sikhs represent a vanishing religious minority in Afghanistan, a deeply conservative Muslim country.

Kimberley Motley (Ernesto Londoño/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Because he has no relatives in Afghanistan, Singh is temporarily staying with Motley. Motley is a one-time Wisconsin beauty queen who now works as a defense lawyer in Kabul. Their long-term goal is to find a country willing to admit him as a refugee.

“For now, Baljit and I are going to be roommates,” Motley said.

More world news coverage:

- Despite setback, pioneering Egyptian journalist has hope for venture

- White House rebuffs questions on Obama’s ‘drone’ remarks

- U.S. spy chief: Iran willing to attack on U.S. soil

- Read more headlines from around the world