JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's State Palace has confirmed that the government decided to call off the plan to grant early release to radical Muslim cleric and terror convict Abu Bakar Bashir due to his resistance to pledge loyalty to the state ideology, Pancasila, and the Republic of Indonesia.
President Joko Widodo previously planned to release the jailed spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda-affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) on humanitarian grounds, citing his old age and deteriorating health.
However, Bashir was ineligible for unconditional release, as he refused to declare loyalty to Pancasila - a special requirement for all terror convicts to obtain parole as stipulated in Government Regulation (PP) No. 99/2012.
"Yes (the plan has been cancelled), because the requirements could not be negotiated," Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said on Tuesday (Jan 22).
The President, who confirmed the plan last Friday, backtracked on his decision following criticism over it, saying on Tuesday that the requirement in the PP must be met before Bashir can receive conditional parole.
Bashir, 80, has been in prison since 2011. He received a 15-year sentence for funding a military training camp for terrorists in Aceh.
He is currently detained at the Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, and has received treatment for chronic venous insufficiency, blood clots and varicose veins in his leg since 2017.
Mr Moeldoko said the government ensured Bashir had access to health facilities to treat his illnesses.