Survivors Outraged As Cleric Who Inspired 2002 Bali Bombings To Walk Free
Survivors of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 88 Australians are dismayed an Islamic cleric who inspired the attack is being freed.
After serving nine years of a 15-year sentence, cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is set to be released from Indonesia's Mount Sindur prison next week.
President Joko Widodo has described it as being for 'humanitarian' reasons -- amid concerns about the 81-year-old's health.
Bombing survivor Erik De Haart calls that a "great misuse" of the word 'human'.
"He is the bloke who planned the bombing that killed 202 people and he wants to be treated as a human now?
"He never thought of all these other people as being human. He never gave them a chance," he told 10 News First.
As spiritual leader of Islamic militant network Jemaah Islamiah, Bashir is considered the "mastermind" of the 2002 bombings in the holiday heart of Kuta that killed 88 Australians.
He has always denied involvement in the terror attack and in 2006 his conviction was overturned on appeal.
Again linked to the 2009 Jakarta hotel bombings -- which killed seven people including three Australians -- it wasn't until 2011 that Bashir was jailed for running a militant training camp.
READ MORE: Bali Nine Member Dies In Jakarta Hospital
He was found guilty of preparing to use violence for a terrorist act and sentenced to 15 years in jail.
At the time, De Haart told 10 News First "the longer he stays in prison, I think the safer and the better the world will be."
"It's been disappointing in the past because people like Bashir are the ones we want behind bars," he said.
Now news of Bashir's impending release has returned the gut-wrenching disappointment.
"202 people have been killed and I don't know countless families ruined over what happened over there and no one's really paid, apart from the bombers, no one's really paid any justice or received any justice for us," De Haart said.
"I don't think anyone is still in jail."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government had been in contact with Indonesian counterparts.
"Australia's position on this has not changed," Morrison said.
"We have always expressed the deepest of reservations and we will continue to work closely with them on this issue."
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Featured image: AAP