Radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir (locally stylized as Ba’asyir), the former spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) who has been accused of masterminding the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, was released from prison earlier today.
Bashir was reportedly picked up by his family from Gunung Sindur Penitentiary in Bogor, West Java before dawn, a precaution taken by authorities to prevent his supporters from gathering to greet him.
The 82-year-old was convicted of supporting terrorist training camps in Aceh province in 2011, though he is also thought to have been the ideological inspiration for terrorist attacks committed by JI, the al Qaeda-affiliated group responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and the suicide bombing at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta the following year that killed 13.
The radical cleric has completed his 15-year prison sentence after stacking up 55 months of remission due to good behavior, conduct, and compensation for religious holidays over the course of his incarceration.
Authorities said Bashir would enter a deradicalization program and that they will continue to monitor his activities after his release, in accordance with existing procedures on terror convicts.