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Indonesia to Release Radical Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir


01/06/2021 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – On January 4, Indonesian officials announced that Abu Bakar Bashir, who was jailed in 2011 for links to militant training camps in the Indonesian province of Aceh, will be released on January 8, after his 15-year sentence was reduced for good behavior.

Bashir, now 82 years old, is considered the spiritual leader of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network, the terrorist group blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, as well as several other deadly attacks across Indonesia during the 2000s.

According to Radio Free Asia, although the firebrand cleric has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2002 bombings, he was arrested in 2010 and sentenced the next year on other terrorism charges. A court found him guilty of helping fund a training camp for Islamic militants in Aceh province and inciting extremists to carry out attacks.

Rika Aprianti, spokeswoman for the Directorate General of Corrections, said in a statement that correctional authorities had prepared special safeguards for Bashir’s release and would be working with the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and Densus 88, an elite police anti-terror unit, to keep an eye on the cleric.

Reuters reports that Australia, which lost 88 of its citizens to the 2002 Bali bombings, its Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said yesterday, “Indonesia must ensure a radical cleric and suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings does not incite more violence when he is released from jail this week.”

SOURCE International Christian Concern

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