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Neil Bantleman Freed, Indonesian Court Overturns Canadian Teacher's Sex Assault Conviction

08/14/2015 05:36 EDT | Updated 08/14/2015 05:59 EDT

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A Canadian teacher and an Indonesian teaching assistant serving 10 years in an Indonesian prison for child sexual offences were released Friday after a court overturned their convictions.

Neil Bantleman, 45, and Ferdinant Tjiong were greeted by tearful family and cheers from friends and dozens of teachers from their former school as they walked out of Cipinang prison in eastern Jakarta.

Bantleman and Tjiong were convicted in April by the South Jakarta District Court of violating Indonesia's child protection law. They maintained their innocence and appealed to the Jakarta High Court.

``I want to say thank you to you all for believing in us,'' said Bantleman, who repeatedly hugged and kissed his wife, Tracy. ``We're happy that the truth has finally come out.''

The release of the men came after the Jakarta High Court overturned their convictions of sexually abusing students who attended the school's kindergarten and who are now 6 and 7 years old.

"The truth is finally revealed and justice has been done,'' said Hotman Paris Hutapea, an Indonesian lawyer representing Bantleman and Tjiong.

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