Jakarta – Convicted terrorist Abu Bakar Ba'asyir will be unconditionally released from Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, as he has received a pardon from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
Abdul Rahim, a son of Ba'asyir, said on Friday that the family had received news of the pardon from the President's lawyer Yusril Ihza Mahendra. Yusril had visited Ba'asyir to tell him that Jokowi had agreed to set him free despite him having over six years left to serve in prison. He would be released early next week pending an administrative process.
"This is purely for humanitarian reasons. He is old, so the president will release him unconditionally," Abdul said. He said Ba'asyir would return to Surakarta and live with him.
Ba'asyir has been in prison for eight years after being sentenced to 15 years by the South Jakarta District Court in 2011. The court found him guilty of funding a military training camp for terrorists in Aceh.
Yusril, who is also an adviser to the Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin presidential campaign team, said because Ba'asyir is now 81 years old and has a deteriorating health condition, it was time to release him.
"Jokowi said he was very concerned about Ba'asyir's condition and therefore asked me to examine [his release], start a dialogue and meet him at the prison," Yusril said in a statement.
Ba'asyir also expressed gratitude and thanked all those who had taken the initiative to release him.
Jokowi confirmed the cleric's release on humanitarian grounds but he refused to expand on the details of the legal mechanism that enabled the release.
"Please ask the National Police chief about the details," he told reporters on the sidelines of his visit to an Islamic boarding school in Garut, West Java. (ggq)