BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Indonesia frees cleric linked to Bali bombing

Indonesia frees cleric linked to Bali bombing

WORLD: A radical cleric linked to the deadly Bali bombings was freed from prison earlier today (Jan 8), Indonesian authorities said, stirring grief and anger among victims nearly 20 years after Indonesia’s worst terror attack.

crimedeathdisasters
By AFP

Friday 8 January 2021, 10:00AM


Abu Bakar Bashir, 82, once synonymous with militant Islam in Indonesia, will be freed from jail today (Jan 8). Photo: AFP.

Abu Bakar Bashir, 82, once synonymous with militant Islam in Indonesia, will be freed from jail today (Jan 8). Photo: AFP.

Abu Bakar Bashir, 82, is considered the spiritual leader of militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Islamist network responsible for the 2002 Bali terror attack that killed more than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists.

The firebrand preacher had completed an unrelated jail term for helping fund militant training in conservative Aceh province. But he has long been suspected of involvement in the holiday island bombings, Indonesia’s worst terror attack.

A white van with Bashir inside left Gunung Sindur prison around 5:30 am local time, accompanied by members of Indonesia’s elite counter-terror squad, Densus 88.

“He was handed over to his family and a team of lawyers who came to pick him up at the penitentiary,” national prisons spokeswoman Rika Aprianti said.

Bashir was expected to return to his hometown Solo city in Java later today.

Originally sentenced to 15 years in 2011 for funding militants, his term was later cut due to regular sentence reductions handed to most prisoners in Indonesia.

Bashir had been previously jailed over the Bali nightclub bombings, but that conviction was quashed on appeal.

He has repeatedly denied involvement in the attacks and his exact role in the blasts has long been the subject of debate.

Bashir’s lawyers had appealed for his release citing his age and risk of contracting COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian nation’s notoriously overcrowded prison system.

Bashir has refused to renounce his extremist views in exchange for leniency.

Phuket Property

Two years ago, plans to grant him early release on humanitarian grounds sparked a backlash at home and in Australia. Dozens of Australians were killed in the Bali attacks and the early release plan was shelved.

His planned release today brings back the “horror of the memories” for Jan Laczynski, 51.

Laczynski was drinking with friends at the Sari Club before flying back to Australia. Hours later, five of his friends were among the hundreds killed in the bomb blasts.

“It hurts me a lot. I wanted to see justice done,” Laczynski told AFP from Melbourne.

“There are still people even next week having operations for their burns; people are still suffering.”

Several JI members implicated in the attacks were later executed or killed in confrontations with Indonesian authorities.

The 2002 bombings - and a later attack on the holiday island in 2005 - prompted Jakarta to strengthen co-operation with the US and Australia in counter-terrorism.

Al-Qaeda-linked JI was founded by a handful of exiled Indonesian militants in Malaysia in the 1980s and grew to include cells across Southeast Asia, including southern Thailand.

As well as the Bali bombings, the extremist group was blamed for a 2003 car bomb at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta and a suicide car bomb the following year outside the Australian embassy.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
AstraZeneca jabs tipped to get nod for ‘emergency use’

How many guinea pigs they need? The General-prime minister is already vaccinated. I am sure, with hi...(Read More)


Phuket van driver pleas for police action over attempted murder

Maybe they'd be comfortable mediating this in a kindergarten as that's clearly where they be...(Read More)


Police confirm Phuket bypass road speed limit is 50km/h

Hence why so many number pates paint whit now, compared to five years ago....(Read More)


AstraZeneca jabs tipped to get nod for ‘emergency use’

British technology and science to the rescue ...(Read More)


Immigration Bureau eases re-entry for residents

Presumably you're talking about "permanent residency" status? Something which very few...(Read More)


Phuket Governor revises order for short-term arrivals

PN still waiting for clarification restrictions. Well, as visitors may do nothing on Phuket (not vis...(Read More)


Phuket Governor revises order for short-term arrivals

@ericphuket, Your experience underlines that all we read about laws/rules, including punishments, a...(Read More)


‘Peeping’ park officer will be charged, confirm police

A group of women experienced the same, not pressed charges. Why not? RTP Captain 'has other thin...(Read More)


Phuket officials confirmed involved in protected forest encroachment

Interesting you blocked my comment about this yesterday, only for it to be confirmed today. Maybe th...(Read More)


Phuket Smart Bus grinds to a halt – again

Its a shame that one of Phuket's successes has come to this but it was inevitable. Very frustrat...(Read More)