As we have noted here many times before, he no doubt has friends, and ideological kin, in high places. “Terror cleric Bashir set to walk free,” from AAP, with thanks to JE:
JAILED hardline Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir would become a free man this month after completing a prison sentence over his involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesia’s justice minister said today.
Bashir, seen by Western countries as the spiritual leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah regional militant network, was convicted of being part of a conspiracy behind the bombings that killed 202 people on the resort island.
“Based on law, he must be freed on June 14,” Justice Minister Hamid Awaluddin said, adding nobody had raised objections.
Southeast Asian and Western authorities blame Jemaah Islamiah for the Bali attacks and other terrorist strikes in the region….
Bashir, co-founder of an Islamic school in Central Java, denies any wrongdoing and insists Jemaah Islamiah does not exist. Police say Jemaah Islamiah has become decentralised, with some factions splitting off and operating independently.
Officials add that despite the capture of nearly 300 people suspected of violating anti-terrorism laws, violent militants remain a serious threat in Indonesia, a vast archipelago with 17,000 islands and 220 million people.
Earlier today, an Islamic militant confessed in a Bali court that he had offered to become a suicide bomber before another terror strike on the island last year, when three suicide bombers killed 20 people in a beachside restaurant.
Anif Solchanuddin, who prosecutors say underwent training to become a suicide bomber but was replaced at the last minute, told the Denpasar court: “I once offered myself to become a bomber.”
“Two days after the Bali bombing, I was asked whether I still wanted to become a suicide bomber,” Solchanuddin said when he testified on Tuesday in a trial against another defendant, Abdul Aziz, who is accused of setting up a militant website.
Asked by a member of the three-judge panel how he replied, the former mobile telephone salesman said: “I was in doubt over the definition of jihad”.
Some say jihad means simply “struggle” in Arabic but others contend it refers specifically to holy war.
It does mean “struggle” in Arabic. And in the Qur’an, it refers primarily to holy war.