03/01/2018, 13.21
INDONESIA
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Bali attack mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir moved to a hospital

The 79-ear-old cleric was hospitalised this morning for chronic venous insufficiency. His sympathisers demand his permanent release. In the 2002 Bali attacks, 202 people lost their lives, mostly foreigners, including 88 Australians.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesian authorities have ordered Abu Bakar Bashir’s transfer to a hospital.

The Islamic leader, who was accused of masterminding the Bali attacks in 2002, was sentenced in 2011 to 15 years in prison for funding a training camp for extremists.

Escorted by four police agents, the 79-year-old cleric (pictured) was admitted this morning to a hospital in the Indonesian capital for chronic venous insufficiency.

Local media report that Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo granted Bashir permission to receive hospital treatment on humanitarian grounds.

Bashir’s sympathisers demand that Widodo release Bashir permanently because of his ill health, a move that would ease tensions between radical Muslims and Widodo before the presidential elections in 2019, but would set off alarm bells among Indonesia’s allies like the United States and Australia.

The Islamist leader was arrested right after the Bali attacks in 2002, in which 202 people died, mostly foreigners, including 88 Australians.

Prosecutors were however unable to prove a series of terrorism-related charges. Bashir was instead sentenced to 18 months in prison for violations of immigration laws.

The cleric has steadfastly denied any involvement in terrorist attacks and, after being sentenced in 2011 for his role in a training camp, said he rejected the sentence issued by "infidel" authorities.

“This verdict ignores sharia law and is based on the infidel law, so it’s forbidden for me to accept it,” Bashir said during the trial.

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