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Muslim cleric linked to the 2002 Bali bombings released from jail

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A radical Muslim cleric linked to the 2002 Bali bombings has been released amid concerns over his ongoing influence on extremists in Indonesia.

Abu Bakar Ba’asyir was picked up by his family 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 behind the attack that killed 202 people.

Authorities say he will enter a deradicalisation programme.

People from 21 nations died in the blasts on 12 October 2002 on the popular holiday island of Bali.

The two bombs had ripped through Paddy’s Irish Bar and the nearby Sari Club in the Kuta tourist district.

The October 12, 2002, Bali bombing remains to this day Indonesia’s deadliest terrorist attack.

The release has drawn mixed reactions in Indonesia as well as Australia, where most of the victims were from. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was “distressing” for victims’ families and that “it’s sometimes not a fair world”.

The firebrand preacher was freed after completing a jail term for a conviction unrelated to the bombings.

He had been sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2011 for supporting militant training in conservative Aceh province, but the term was later cut due to sentence reductions.

Officials reportedly said he had “served his punishment well”.

Previously Ba’asyir had been jailed in 2005 for conspiracy over the Bali bombings, but this conviction was overturned on appeal.

He has always denied any involvement in terrorism.


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