Bali Bombing Cleric Has 'Clear Conscience': Abu Bakar Bashir's Lawyer Speaks
The lawyer of Abu Bakar Bashir -- the man considered the mastermind of the Bali bombings -- is concerned the mood around his client's early release from prison has become "too negative" and wants people to chill out.
As the spiritual leader of Islamic militant network Jemaah Islamiah, Bashir is considered the architect of the 2002 bombings in the holiday heart of Kuta that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
But according to his lawyer, Mahendradatta, Bashir believes he has done nothing wrong because everything he has done, has been in accordance with the Koran.
When asked if his client accepts responsibility for the deaths, Mahendradatta told 10 News First's Hugh Riminton: "No, not a single one."
The lawyer says Bashir is merely a scapegoat and was never an operational player in terrorist attacks, leaving him with a clear conscience.
"He doesn't want any trouble, he's an old man," he said.
After serving nine years of a 15-year sentence, Bashir is set to be released from Indonesia's Mount Sindur prison in the coming days.
He has always denied involvement in the terror attack and in 2006 his conviction was overturned on appeal.
News of his release, now nearly 17 years after the bombings, has sent shockwaves through the families who were so tragically hurt by them.
Survivor Andrew Csabi lost several friends in the attack and was severely injured, losing a leg and half of his other foot.
"What I witnessed the night of the 12th of October is etched in my mind forever," he told 10 news.
Csabi said he, like other victims and their families, are outraged Bashir will walk free before his entire sentence is carried out.
"We have a life sentence every day, the amputees, the people that are burnt, the people that have lost their family members, we do not forget that," he said.
"And, I mean, for him to not have to serve out a 15-year sentence, we'd like to see that justice carried out to full extent."
June Corteen, who lost her twin daughters in the attack, is scared for what Bashir's release may mean for the future.
“When I first heard it, the heart just went straight to my stomach and I thought ‘Oh no, I hope we don’t have to go through this again,'" she said.
“To think that he can get out on his own terms is absolutely terrifying because you don’t know what he’s going to do.”
The Prime Minister revealed on Monday he is now in direct contact with the Indonesian president Joko Widodo, expressing Australia's concerns for Bashir's release.
Despite this, however, Scott Morrison concedes there is little he can do.
“We have been consistent always, governments of both persuasions over a long period of time, about our concerns about Abu Bakar Bashir and that he should serve what the Indonesian justice system has delivered to him as his sentence,” he told reporters.
“In these cases, when prisoners have served about two-thirds of their sentence, it is not uncommon for them to get parole."
Morrison said the government had been very clear about the need to ensure that Bashir would not return to a position where he could "influence or incite anything".