Radical cleric linked to Bali bombings released from prison

Abu Bakar Bashir, 82, leaves the Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, on the outskirts of Jakarta, on January 8.

(CNN)Indonesia released Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir from prison on Friday, with authorities saying the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings would enter a de-radicalization program amid concerns over his continued influence in extremist circles.

Bashir was picked up by his family and was being driven to his home in central Java, said a spokeswoman for the corrections directorate general at the law and human rights ministry.
Photographs showed him wearing a white robe, white cap and a face mask as he left the prison in Bogor, south of Jakarta.
    "Abu Bakar Bashir was released from Gunung Sindur prison at 5.30 a.m.," spokeswoman Rika Aprianti told reporters, adding that he was healthy on his departure.
      Bashir, 82, who is regarded as the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a jihadist network with ties to al-Qaeda, was imprisoned in 2011 for 15 years for his links to a militant training camp in Aceh province.
      After receiving periodic reductions in his jail term, he served 10 years in prison.
      Abu Bakar Bashir at Cilacap District Court on January 26, 2016 in Cilacap, Central Java.
      Although Indonesian police and Western intelligence agencies say Bashir was linked to the Bali attacks that killed 202 people and a 2003 attack on the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta, he was never convicted for them and denied those ties.
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