President Joko Widodo. Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Since the issue of Abubakar Ba’asyir release surfaced two weeks ago, the Government not yet found the “bright-spot” to face of the terrorism convict. Although has issued a statement to release the terrorist kingpin for humanitarian reasons, the Government still have a stand to conduct formal legal studies to parsing the tangled thread.

The discourse became a trending topic the day after the debate which discussed the themes of law, human rights, terrorism and corruption, on Thursday (01/17). The public simultaneously questioned the “incumbent’s” steps in resolving the issue of terrorism.

Ba’asyir himself is an Indonesian terrorist leader who played an important role since the tragedy of the Bali bombings (2002) to the terrorist movement in Aceh (2010).

In addition, Ba’asyir also said that he supported Islamic State of Iraq and Suriah (ISIS) because there was a similar ideology with ISIS leaders in implementing the Shari’a.

Even, Ba’asyir led a number of Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) members went to Syria and joined ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, a jihadist organization in Syria that has links to al-Qaida.

It is this black-record that has become a legal precedent for Indonesia if the Government officially releases the convicted not based on a rational legal basis. One of the fundamental regulations in parole is a pledge of loyalty to the Indonesia State and the Pancasila.

The government is still on the discourse even though it has issued an official statement to conduct a legal review which has in-depth data on the Ba’asyir case. On the one hand, it was not sincere to see an elder die in prison, but on the other side, it also did not set a precedent for fair law enforcement.

The latest inform said that Ba’asyir underwent a medical check-up at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital Jakarta to determine the condition of the internal organs that caused the foot swell. It founded that there were a calcification of bone marrow and blockage of blood vessels of the cleric.

Previously, the Government has requested that the former head of the Al Mukmin Islamic Boarding School, Ngruki, Sukoharjo, Central Java, pledge allegiance to the state’s ideology and foundation as a condition for his release. But he remained unmoved and chose more faithfully in the teachings of Islam he adhered to.

The government saw the establishment of Ba’asyir as an attitude to reject the ideology and foundation of the country, so that he had threatened Ba’asyir to leave the unitary state of Indonesia. Because, as a citizen, recognition of the basis and ideology of the state is the main requirement for recognition of the existence of the citizenship.

The Government, through the National Counter-terrorism Agency, continues to run the de-radicalization program to Ba’asyir by bringing cleric who was considered to have higher religious knowledge to reduce Ba’asyir radical-understanding.

The President’s decision was previously criticized by the Australian government because Ba’asyir was one of the leaders of Jamaah Islamiyah. This group was involved in the 2002 Bali Bombing case which killed hundreds of people.

Indonesian legal observers also argue over the Government’s plan. In the Ba’asyir case, it was not a procedure for parole, or clemency and amnesty.

Procedurally, the release of prisoners before the sentence ends is through parole, referring to the Regulation of the Minister of Law and Human Rights Number 3 Year 2018 concerning the parole.

The Ba’asyir release scheme is also not a clemency, as stated in Law Number 5 Year 2010. Clemency is the right of the President to give a sentence reduction. This right can be granted if an inmate submits and acknowledges his mistake.

While the exemption scheme with the granting of amnesty and abolition was also questioned. The 1945 Constitution and Law Number 11 Year 1954 concerning Amnesty and Abolition have arranged it. Amnesty and abolition must be based on written information from the Supreme Court at the request of the Minister of Law and Human Rights and the House’s consideration.

Therefore, as Mahfud MD says, Ba’asyir cannot be free of conditionality or pure freedom. The parole can only be obtained when Ba’asyir has served two-thirds of his sentence, namely in 2021. Pure freedom is also not possible because Ba’asyir has been convicted.

The president can only free the chairman of the JAT if he first changes the Act through the Parliament or issues a Government Regulation replaced the Act.

But, Ba’asyir attorney Mahendradata denied that the Government did not sent a official statement to their client in which Ba’asyir must express his loyalty to state ideology.

This issue eventually extended to the political sphere and threatened the electability of Widodo who would compete in the upcoming April 17′ presidential election. The president received protests from a number of supporters on social media. In fact, some supporters threatened not to vote for him in the presidential election later.

Some parties even considered that the liberation discourse was related to the President’s efforts to capture vote support from conservative Muslims. However, the political strategy actually hit the law and instead eroded the votes of ideological voters because they were disappointed with their electoral strategy.

President Widodo as incumbent benefited from the presence of Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate, so there was no need to manipulate political support from excessive Islamic circles. Amin’s figure has become a representation of the Islamic group itself, as the reason for Amin’s election as a Vice Presidential candidate last August.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com