Malawi’s self-styled prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary have been unconditionally released by a magistrate in the capital, Lilongwe, following their arrest on Wednesday.
South Africa has demanded the couple’s extradition after they skipped bail.
Bushiri and his wife have been charged in South Africa, where they lived, with money laundering and fraud. They deny the charges.
Their lawyer, Wapona Kita, asked the court to release the two unconditionally, saying their arrest had been illegal.
The state prosecutor had asked the court to allow police to keep the couple in custody for a further 30 days to allow for the South African government to formally submit an extradition request.
Mr Kita said it was illegal to arrest them before South Africa made a formal extradition request