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Bali attacks: Abu Bakar Bashir, radical clergyman linked to attacks, released from prison



Bashir was picked up by his family and taken to his home in central Java, a spokesman for the Directorate-General for Corrections at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights said.

The photos show that he came out in a white robe, white hat and face mask when he left the prison in Bogor, south of Jakarta.

“Abu Bakar Bashir was released from Gunung Sindur Prison at 5.30am,” spokesman Rika Aprianti told reporters, adding that he was healthy on his departure.

Bashir, 82, who is considered the spiritual leader of the al-Qaeda-linked jihadist network Jemaah Islamiah (JI), was jailed in 2011 for 15 years for his links to a training camp in Aceh province.

After receiving periodic reductions in prison, he served 1

0 years in prison.

Abu Bakar Bashir in the Chilakap District Court on January 26, 2016 in Chilakap, Central Java.

Although Indonesian police and Western intelligence agencies say Bashir was linked to the attacks in Bali that killed 202 people and the 2003 JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, he was never convicted and denied the links. .

Zulkarnaen, a man believed to be one of the oldest members of the JI and involved in making the bombs for the attacks, was arrested last month.

The bombings in Bali killed 88 Australians, and Foreign Minister Maris Payne said this week that Indonesia must ensure that Bashir does not incite more violence.

Tiolina Marpaung, an Indonesian woman injured in the 2002 attacks, said she wanted authorities to continue to control Bashir.

“We don’t know what he was doing in prison,” she said by telephone. “The government has yet to establish control over participants in terrorism in Indonesia who have been outside the prison.”

Bashir pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 while in prison.

Eddie Hartono, of the Indonesian Counter-Terrorism Agency, said Bashir would now undergo a deradicalization program.

“We hope that Abu Bakr Bashir, once released, can deliver peaceful, reassuring sermons,” he said in a statement.

Following the attacks in Bali and with the support of Australia and the United States, Indonesia created an elite anti-terrorist unit, which weakened the NE and led to the arrest or killing of dozens of suspected fighters.

But since then, other extremist groups have formed and carried out attacks on the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, and only last month did police arrest 23 fighters, including Zulkarnaen.

Abdul Rohim, Bashir’s son, told Reuters that his father would return to the Islamic boarding house Al Mukmin near Solo in Central Java province, which Bashir founded in the 1970s and whose alumni have been linked to war networks in the past. and attacks.

“He has completed his term. It is quite over,” Rohim said, adding that he would deliver an Islamic sermon.

Security analysts say that although Bashir does not have as much power over the SI or other groups, he can still influence other fighters.

“Bashir is an ideologue, his words will be followed and examples of this will be made,” said analyst Stanislav Riyanta.


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