Indonesian cleric linked to Bali bombings freed from jail

200 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed in 2002 attack.

A radical cleric linked to the Bali nightclub bombings was freed from prison on Friday, stirring grief and anger among victims nearly two decades after more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed in Indonesia’s worst terror attack.

Abu Bakar Bashir, 82, is seen as the spiritual leader of Islamist terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was responsible for the massive blasts that ripped through a pair of packed bars in October 2002.

The firebrand preacher was released after completing an unrelated jail term for helping fund militant training. But he has long been suspected of involvement in the horrific holiday island bombings, which came just a year after the 9/11 attacks.

Sentenced to 15 years in 2011, his term was later cut due to sentencing reductions handed to most prisoners in Indonesia. Bashir had been previously jailed over the Bali bombings, but that conviction was quashed on appeal. The cleric refused to renounce his extremist views in exchange for leniency when the government considered releasing him early two years ago.

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