Australia is livid but there’s buggerall it can do, when Abu Bakar Ba'asyir is released tomorrow from prison, where he served his 30 months’ sentenced, though in less than that time because of the Indonesian practice of reducing sentences on auspicious occasions.
Abu Bakar is the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a terrorist organisation that had conducted a series of suicide bombings in Indonesia, including twice in Bali. The first Bali bombing killed over 200 people, many of whom were Australian tourists including many women and children.
Only scumbags killed women and children.
JI is an affiliate of the terrorist al Qaeda. The West including Australia deem JI as a terrorist organisation and had tried but in vain to get Indonesia to so declare JI as such.
Many Indonesian high ranking officials including very senior ministers are supportive of JI as a Islamic religious organisation rather than one of terrorism, hence Indonesia’s reluctance to label it as illegal.
Abu Bakar was a teacher at an Islamic school right in the heartland of Javanese Indonesia, at Solo. He still insists he is just a simple preacher. He was sentenced and jailed for approving the Bali bombing, though a large number of more serious charges against him, including the planned assassination of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, had been dropped.
During the Suharto regime, he sought refugee in Malaysia, and is believed to have set up a regional network of Islamic radicals that would later form the nucleus of JI. Abu Bakar has publicly voiced his support of Osama bin Laden though he claimed not to know the Saudi terrorist. Many including Australia and the USA are concerned his release may energize the region's small, radical fringe.
Australia had hitherto applied pressure on Indonesia not to grant clemency or reduce his sentence. Indonesia had acceded until Australia made a mistake in taking in West Papua refugees against the protestation of Indonesia. That’s when Indonesia (undoubtedly on the behest of those sympathetic to Abu Bakar) turned ugly and told Australia pointedly not to ever interfere with its planned release of Abu Bakar.
Australia's Foreign Minister has complied, putting on a brave face on its domestic front by spinning that the Indonesian authority will ensure Abu Bakar remains under close scrutiny. What he didn't tell the Australian public was the fact that many high Indonesian officials and politicians are sympathetic to JI.
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir walks completely free tomorrow, when there will be a hugh reception to welcome home the spiritual leader of JI. Several hundred of his supporters, mostly students bussed in from his Solo school, are expected at the prison gates to greet him.
Indonesia's State Intelligence Agency chief Syamsir Siregar said: "We hope Bashir, after he has been jailed, will regain his self-awareness and be willing to cooperate with us.”
Yeah, and pigs can fly.
(1) War of Dogs
(2) Unity in Diversity? – An Indonesian Worry<
(3) Azahari Husin - Doctor of Sufferings
(4) Dr Azahari Husin - From Fun Bloke to Murderous Terrorist
(5) Dr Azahari - from Mancester United to Jemaah Islamiyah