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Radical Indonesian cleric behind Bali bombings to be released six years early

A lawyer for the ailing radical cleric who inspired the Bali bombers says the Indonesian government will release him from prison next week.

The lawyer, Muhammad Mahendradatta, said Friday the decision to release 80-year-old Abu Bakar Bashir was made on humanitarian grounds.

Many of the victims of the Bali bombings in 2002 were Australians. Australia urged Indonesia last March against any leniency toward Bashir.

Bashir was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2011 for supporting a military-style training camp for Islamic militants.

The firebrand cleric was arrested almost immediately after the Bali bombings. But prosecutors were unable to prove a string of terrorism-related allegations. He was instead sentenced to 18 months in prison for immigration violations.

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