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Radical cleric linked to 2002 Bali bombings has been freed

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Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the radical Muslim cleric linked to the 2002 Bali bombings has been freed. He was picked up by his family members from a jail outside Indonesia’s capital Jakarta early on Friday.

 

The 82-year-old is the former head of Jemaah Islamiah, an al-Qaeda-inspired group that led the attack that killed 202 people.

The aftermath of the 2002 Bali attack

People from more than 20 different nations died in the blasts that occurred on the 12th of October 2002 on the popular holiday island of Bali.

 

The attack remains Indonesia’s deadliest terrorist attack.

Abu Bakar Ba’asyir release draws mixed reactions

The release of the radical Muslim cleric has drawn mixed reactions in Indonesia, as well as Australia where most of the victims were from. The prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, said it was “distressing” and his release shows that “it’s sometimes not a fair world.”

 

Eight-eight of the victims involved in the bombings were from Australia.

The muslim cleric was released after completing his jail term

The muslim cleric was released after completing his jail term, which was unrelated to the bombings. He was sentenced to 15 years in 2011 for supporting militant training in conservative Aceh province, but the term was later cut due to sentence reductions.

 

He previously served a jail sentence in 2005 for conspiracy over the Bali bombings, but this conviction was overturned on appeal.

Abu Bakar Ba’asyir involvement in the Bali attacks

Ba’asyir was commander of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the militant Islamist group, at the time of the Bali bombings. His exact role in the terrorist attack remains unclear till today.

 

Sidney Jones, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta, said operational decisions were carried by someone else in JI but Ba’asyir would have given a “de-facto green light.”

 

“He didn’t plan it. But he is the person who could have stopped it if he said no.”