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(Compass) – On Saturday, September 25, imprisoned pastor Rinaldy Damanik celebrated his 45th birthday. However on Monday, September 27, he had far greater cause for celebration when police announced he would be released in November 2004 — almost a year earlier than his original release date of September 2005. Damanik was originally sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under what many believe were false charges. In an interview with Compass earlier this year, Damanik said he would continue his campaign for peace after he was released. Reports from Indonesia indicate that a leading Muslim cleric, Idrus R. al Habsy, befriended the imprisoned pastor and learned how Damanik was working for peace in Poso, an area wracked by conflict and bloodshed. The elderly cleric became a staunch advocate on Damanik’s behalf. In August, Idrus signed a guarantee directed to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights declaring Damanik to be a “man of good character” who “should be allowed to go free.”