Indonesia reviews release of radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir


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Indonesia is reviewing a decision to release the jailed mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing after an intervention by Australian PM Scott Morrison.

A security minister said President Joko Widodo had asked him to review all aspects of the planned release of radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.

This came hours after Mr Morrison asked Indonesia to show “great respect” for Australia.

The nightclub bombing killed more than 200 people, many of them Australian.

Ba’asyir, 80, is considered the spiritual leader of banned group Jemaah Islamiah, which was blamed for the attack.

Last week’s decision by President Widodo to release him on medical grounds drew widespread criticism.

At a hastily called news conference on Monday, the Indonesia security minister said that decision was under review.

Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said President Widodo had “instructed related officials to immediately conduct a more thorough and comprehensive assessment”.

Mr Morrison said earlier that he and other officials had been in direct contact with their Indonesian counterparts over the impending release.

“Australians died horrifically on that night, and I think Australians everywhere would be expecting that this matter was treated with the utmost seriousness by our government, which it is,” he said.

“But also that the Indonesian government would show great respect for Australia in how they manage this issue.”

Ba’asyir was jailed for 15 years in 2011 after being found guilty of supporting militants in Aceh province.

Three men were executed for their role in the bombings in 2008 and several others have either been jailed or killed by security forces.


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