Indonesia frees radical cleric

The football jerseys of members of the Coogee Dolphins rugby league killed in the Bali bombings were displayed on 20 October 2002 in Sydney

Bashir was sentenced in 2011 to 15 years in prison, not for the Bali bombings for which he had denied any involvement, but for links to a militant training camp in Aceh province.

A radical cleric linked to the Bali nightclub bombings was freed from prison on Friday, stirring grief and anger among victims almost two decades after more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed in Indonesia's worst terror attack.

Wearing a white shirt and black mask, Bashir kept his auto window firmly closed as it left the jail followed by an ambulance and three other vehicles.

His son said Bashir would be avoiding activities outside his family due to the coronavirus.

"Bashir is an ideologue", said analyst Stanislaus Riyanta.

Facing pressure to imprison Bashir, Indonesian authorities struggled to prove his involvement in the Bali bombings and fought multiple battles to uphold convictions on other charges. The then 22-year-old footballer was in Bali celebrating a grand final win with his crew from the Kingsley Football Club in Perth's northern suburbs.

How have victims' loved ones responded to Bashir's release?

"I wanted to see justice done", Mr Laczynski said from Melbourne.

Mr Britten welcomed that Indonesian authorities didn't fold to pressure and the callous cleric was made to fulfil his sentence.

"We don't know what he was doing in prison", she said by telephone.

"He hasn't changed in jail, if anything he's got worse", the Australian said. A court cleared him of heading JI but sentenced him to 30 months for conspiracy in the Bali bombings.

"I would hope that the Australian Government, I'm sure, are making strong representations to make sure that the closest eye is kept on this bloke to make sure that his activities don't further the, quite frankly, catastrophic human consequences of his ideological position".

More than 300 people were seriously injured.

It was Indonesia's worst terrorist attack. A fourth perpetrator named Dulmatin was killed in a shootout with police in Jakarta in 2010.

"It's still raw after all of these years later", Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference in Canberra on Friday, when asked to comment about Bashir's release.

"I have no hatred towards Bali, its culture or its people".

"He will be brought home and interact with the extended family at the boarding school". However, a person's character is not defined by their religion.

More than 200 people were killed, including 88 Australians, in the Bali Bombings in October 2002. Dozens of Australians were killed in the Bali attacks and the early release plan was shelved. He was sentenced a two-and-a-half-years prison 2005 but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

When he was released in 2006, he immediately campaigned to enforce Sharia law over civil law throughout the archipelago.

- He was first jailed in 1979 under the late autocratic President Suharto for agitating to set up an Islamic state.

Graduates included Huda bin Adbul Haq and Amrozi - both of whom were executed. Police arrested 23 militants only last month.

- In 1985, he fled to Malaysia, where for 14 years he increased his influence among Muslim militants from Southeast Asia and is believed to have co-founded JI before returning to Indonesia after Suharto stood down.

It remains to this day Indonesia's deadliest terrorist attack.

Bashir's current sentence, however, is unrelated to the bombings and is a result of his 2011 indictment for supporting jihadi training camps.



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