82-year-old Abu Bakar Ba’asyir was released from Jakarta on Friday evening. The man had been known to radically influence groups to the point of terrorism. Although he was never officially charged for the blasts, there has been evidence of him lecturing and influencing young minds to extreme views. Abu Bakar had been arrested because of his involvement in militant activities and was sentenced to 15 years in 2010.
He was the head of an organisation known as the Jemaah Islamia, which was inspired by Al Qaeda. It was found to be behind the shocking bomb blasts in Bali that resulted in the death of more than 200 people. Bali is a popular holiday destiny and was rightfully packed the day of the blast. Citizens from more than 18 countries lost their lives that day, and many more were left injured.
After the blast, the United States, Australia and Indonesia had set up a team to eliminate the group and successfully beat down the group. Three people directly involved in the blasts were executed and many others were arrested or eliminated by the personnel. This means that even if the man tries to reinforce his group, it will take a long time for him to do so.
Authorities said that he had served his time well and was fit to be released. However, he would be enrolled in a deradicalisation program to help improve his views and prevent him from propagating hate. Officials hope that the man understands the gravity of his words and commits to spreading peace in the world rather than propaganda. They are confident that he will not be able to incite a fresh round of attacks again, as the laws have been made stricter and the trend in such groups is changing. The groups that cause violent attacks are now more inspired by the western world and not radical groups and hence the influence of Abu Bakar will not amount to anything much, the authorities said.
Most Muslim societies respect the word of their elders and turn to them for advise. It will be the same case with Abu Bakar as he is quite old and has substantial oratory skills, sources said. The families of the victims are distraught at the news and demanded that he be placed back in custody. They claim that such men cannot change and do not deserve forgiveness.