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Decision for the Early Release of Radical Cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir to be Reviewed

The Indonesian government has ordered a review of the decision to grant early release to radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, who is linked to the 2002 Bali bombings. The review came after news of the plan provoked criticism and pressure from the Australian Prime Minister.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had announced on Friday that Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, 80, would be granted early release on humanitarian grounds, citing his old age and poor health.

On Tuesday, January 22, Indonesian security minister Wiranto said the government was reviewing the unconditional release.

“The president has ordered the relevant officials to immediately conduct a more in-depth and comprehensive study to respond to the request,” Wiranto said in a Facebook post.

He added that authorities were “weighing up aspects like the Pancasila”, the secular state ideology to which every convict is required to pledge allegiance, but which Ba’asyir has repeatedly refused to acknowledge.

Although linked to the Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, Ba’asyir was not convicted for them. Many Australians were among the dead and Canberra has urged against leniency for Ba’asyir.

“We have been very clear about the need to ensure that as part of our joint counter-terrorism efforts … that Abu Bakar Ba’asyir would not be in any position or in anyway able to influence or incite anything,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Cairns in northeastern Queensland on Monday.

“We have been consistent … about our concerns about Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and that he should serve what the Indonesian justice system has delivered to him as his sentence,” he added.

“Australians died horrifically on that night and I think Australians everywhere would be expecting that this matter was treated with the utmost seriousness.”

Source: Channel News Asia

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