PARIS — French criminal justice authorities say a child murderer whose case has become a symbol of the fight against the death penalty will be released from prison.

The prosecutor’s office in Melun, south of Paris, said Friday that 64-year-old Patrick Henry has had his sentence suspended for medical reasons.

Henry was serving a life sentence for the murder of a 7-year-old boy in 1976.

At the time, his lawyer Robert Badinter used his case to advocate against the death penalty. The argument remains one of the most famous of France’s judicial history.

The death penalty was abolished in France in 1981 when Badinter was justice minister.

Henry’s lawyer Hugo Levy told Franceinfo radio his client has cancer.

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