Indonesia: Abu Bakar Bashir’s early release plan cancelled: State Palace

  • Indonesia’s State Palace has confirmed that the government decided to call off the plan to grant early release to radical Muslim cleric and terror convict Abu Bakar Bashir due to his resistance to pledge loyalty to the state ideology, Pancasila, and the Republic of Indonesia.
  • President Joko Widodo previously planned to release the jailed spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda-affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) on humanitarian grounds, citing his old age and deteriorating health.
  • However, Bashir was ineligible for unconditional release, as he refused to declare loyalty to Pancasila – a special requirement for all terror convicts to obtain parole as stipulated in Government Regulation (PP) No. 99/2012.
  • “Yes (the plan has been cancelled), because the requirements could not be negotiated,” Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said on 22 Jan 19.
  • The President, who confirmed the plan on 18 Jan 19, backtracked on his decision following criticism over it, saying on 22 Jan 19 that the requirement in the PP must be met before Bashir can receive conditional parole.

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