JAKARTA - Indonesia has decided against transferring the ailing spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), Abu Bakar Bashir, out of jail and under house arrest, chief security minister Wiranto said according to reports.
Wiranto said the government would instead transfer the radical cleric from a jail in Bogor to another one in Central Java - possibly Bashir's hometown of Solo, Tempo.com news portal reported.
"He will remain in a penitentiary, not in a house nor a hospital," Wiranto was quoted as saying at the Presidential Complex in Jakarta on Sunday (March 4).
Wiranto stressed that the authorities would keep an eye on Bashir, who was sentenced to 15 years' jail in 2011 for inciting others to commit terror acts and helping to fund a paramilitary training camp in Aceh, to prevent him from spreading radical ideologies.
The decision was final and would be followed-up by the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Wiranto said. The transfer would be carried out immediately, he added.
"It will be easier [for his relatives] to visit him and get in touch with him. When you are in your hometown you will feel content, even if you are detained," said Wiranto, Indonesia's former military chief.
Indonesian media had previously reported that the government was mulling putting "old and sickly" Bashir under house arrest on humanitarian grounds.
In April 2016, the authorities moved Bashir from the maximum security Nusakambangan island prison in Central Java, where he was locked in an isolation cell, to Gunung Sindur prison outside Jakarta.
The transfer of the founder of the South-east Asian terror network to the smaller state penitentiary near a major city was to ensure that he could receive proper medical treatment, the government had said.
But the Tempo report on Monday cited Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly as saying that the court has ordered that Bashir remained in a penitentiary.
"It's impossible to go with house arrest. The law is not like that," he said.
Bashir will be provided with medical treatment, he added.
"We will give him medical treatment anytime he needs it. He will also have an assistant, so it's different from the others," said Yasonna.