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Militant Indonesian Cleric Released From Prison

Authorities in Indonesia have released militant Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir from prison, where he served time for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Bashir was greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters as he left a Jakarta prison today (Wednesday). The 68-year-old cleric told the crowd that he will continue to fight to uphold Islamic Sharia law.

Bashir, who has maintained his innocence, served 25 months of a 30-month sentence. He is the alleged leader of the regional militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which is believed to have ties to al-Qaida.

The United States said on Tuesday that it is deeply disappointed by what it called the light prison term Bashir served.

A State Department spokesman (Sean McCormack) noted the Indonesian court that convicted Bashir concluded he was a participant in a "sinister conspiracy to cause a fire or explosion resulting in deaths."