01/05/2021, 15.10
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Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the emir of Jemaah Islamiyah, to be soon released

by Mathias Hariyadi

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for (moral) support of the Bali bombings of October 2002, which claimed the lives of at least 209 victims, mostly foreign tourists, and wounded dozens more. He has always denied the charges.


Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, known as the emir (spiritual leader) of the Jemaah Islamiyah international terrorist group, is about to be freed.

His release is set for next Friday, the West Jakarta office of the Human Rights and Law Ministry confirmed today. “He will be free without conditions,” said office chief Imam Suyudi.

Ba’asyir, who has always rejected the claim that he led Jemaah Islamiyah, was convicted of (moral) support for the October 2002 Bali bombings, which killed at least 209 people – mostly foreign tourists – and wounded dozens of others.

Speaking to reporters today, Ba’asyir’s family said they will limit access to him as scores of sympathisers and well-wishers are expected at the Gunung Sindur detention centre to welcome his release.

“We do not expect to involve many people to welcome his release,” said Abdul Rahim Ba’asyir, the cleric’s son. To protect his ailing father, the family will allow only a small number of supporters to come near, insisting that proper social distancing will be maintained.

According to Suyudi, Ba’asyir will be released automatically after serving the bulk of a 15-year sentence, which was reduced by four years and seven months. No special requirements are needed for his official legal release, Suyudi said.

In 2019, President Joko Widodo played with the idea of ​​releasing Ba’asyir on humanitarian grounds, prompting widespread criticism and protests from many ordinary Indonesians and civil society groups.

Jokowi's decision was also conditional on Ba’asyir pledging allegiance to the Republic of Indonesia, which also means recognising Pancasila, and acknowledging that he had committed a serious crime against the state. In both cases, Ba’asyir refused.

According to his lawyer, Ba’asyir rejected the pledge because his loyalty is only to Islam. He also continues to claim that he did not commit any wrongdoing.

According to security expert Ridlwan Habib, although Ba’asyir’s stature has been lessened, extremists may seek to associate their activities with him to gain credit and increase their credibility.

“Ba’asyir is a leading figure in Indonesia’s jihadist movement, and it's not impossible that his name will be used,” he explained.

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See also
Bali bombs, God's will, says Ba'asyir
Terror suspect Baasyr refuses to speak, claiming police questions are haram, prohibited
Abu Bakar Baasyir free to fight for Sharia
Supreme Court overturns Ba’asyir’s conviction
Australia criticises Abu Bakar Baasyir’s release, a step that divides Indonesians
22/01/2019 14:58


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