Putra Ramadhani Astyawan, Jakarta – The lawyer for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and vice presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin's election campaign team, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, says that Widodo's release of Abu Bakar Bashir is evidence that head of state does not criminalise ulama (Islamic clerics).
Widodo himself agreed to Bashir's release after considering the 81-year-old cleric's state of health explained Mahendra during a visit to the Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor regency, West Java, on Friday January 18.
"This shows to the public that it is untrue that Pak [Mr] Jokowi persecutes or criminalises ulama, that it's absolutely untrue. The Bashir case has become of concern both domestically and internationally and he (Widodo) has agreed to his immediate release, in one or two days", explained Mahendra on Friday.
Mahendra also claimed that Bashir has agreed to return to his family. After he is released, continued Mahendra, Bashir will focus on resting and has promised not to be too active.
"I've already spoken with beliau [a honorific term for her or him], that he will be accepted back into the family, to rest at home and not carry out much activity, beliau said he won't receive any guests which is important to his family and won't give any sermons and so will focus on resting at home as a parent", explained Mahendra.
On June 16, 2011, Abu Bakar Bashir was sentenced to 15 years jail by the South Jakarta District Court. The panel of judges found the founder and spiritual leader of the Jamaah Anshorud Tauhid (JAT) terrorist group guilty of supporting a military training camp for terrorist groups in Indonesia's northern-most province of Aceh. (kha)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Bebaskan Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, Yusril: Bukti Jokowi Tak Lakukan Kriminalisasi Ulama".]