Radical Cleric Linked to Bali Bombing to Be Freed from Prison
A radical cleric thought to be the spiritual leader of the Bali bombers will be released from prison on medical grounds, Indonesia's president said Friday. Abu Bakar Bashir, 80, is believed to have been a key figure in terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was blamed for the 2002 bombings on the holiday island which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists. It was Indonesia's deadliest militant attack and prompted Jakarta to beef up anti-terror cooperation with the U.S. and Australia, which has previously opposed clemency for Bashir. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Friday that he had agreed to order the ailing preacher's release from a prison on the outskirts of the capital. "The first reason is humanitarian," Widodo told reporters. "He is old ... and his health condition was also part of the consideration." Widodo did not say when Bashir would be released, but one of the cleric's lawyers said it could be as early as next week. Bashir, speaking from Gunung Sindur prison, welcomed the news. "If I am released, I'll praise Allah," he told reporters, adding he was not hostile to the state. In 2011, the firebrand preacher — once synonymous with militant Islam in Indonesia — was sentenced to 15 years in jail for helping fund a paramilitary group training in the conservative Islamic province of Aceh. Bashir, the co-founder of an infamous Islamic boarding school known for producing militants, was jailed after authorities in the world's biggest Muslim majority country broke up the camp. Several militants convicted over their involvement in the Bali bombings have been executed while two others, including Malaysian Noordin Mohammed Top, were killed in police raids in 2009 and 2010. Bashir, who has repeatedly denied involvement in terror attacks, was also previously jailed over the Bali bombings but that... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Radical Cleric Linked to Bali Bombing to Be Freed from Prison, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Friday, 18 January
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