Survivor’s anger as Bali bomber set to be released
GEELONG Bali bombing survivor Therese Fox says the impending release of Islamic terrorist Abu Bakar Bashir would be traumatic for victims who never got justice for the 2002 blasts.
Bashir is the alleged mastermind behind the deadly Bali bombings that claimed more than 200 lives.
Ms Fox, then 29, was one of hundreds of Australians enjoying a night out in Kuta on October 12, 2002, when a terrorist detonated a bomb that tore through Bali's nightclub strip.
Her friend Bronwyn Cartwright and fellow Geelong residents Aaron and Justin Lee and Justin's wife, Stacey, nee Thornburgh, were among the 88 Australians who died in the attacks.
Ms Fox sustained life-changing burns to more than 80 per cent of body and spent nearly a year in hospital after the attack.
"He took all those lives away and he took away our sense of safety and freedom," Ms Fox said.
"I don't feel that his time in jail was punishment enough."
Bashir - the spiritual leader and co-founder of terror organisation Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which has links to al-Qaida and aligned to ISIL - was jailed for 15 years on terrorism charges linked to terrorist training camps in Aceh province.
The Grovedale woman said the impending release of Bashir was "another kick" that brought to surface the pain she had hoped to leave behind.
"It concerns me that this man was so evil that he could do this, he could definitely do it again," Ms Fox said.
She said Bashir's release would be even more traumatic for families that had lost loved ones in 2002.
"They are the people that deserve justice and I don't believe that we ever got justice," Ms Fox said.
Nearly two decades on, Ms Fox said she thought of Ms Cartwright every day and was constantly reminded of the trauma experienced.
Rika Aprianti, a spokesman for Indonesia's department of corrections, confirmed the firebrand cleric will be freed on Friday.
Bashir, 82, rejected parole in 2018 by refusing to declare loyalty to Indonesia's philosophy of "Pancasila" - the five principles of unity, democracy, social justice, belief in one God and civilised humanity. Convicted terrorists in Indonesia must confirm adherence to Pancasila and renounce radicalism, before they are released.
The head of Indonesia's Human Rights Ministry, Imam Suyudi, said Bashir has served his time, however, he would receive special supervision co-ordinated by the national police and the anti-terrorist squad Densus 88.
Bashir appears on the UN Security Council's index of international terrorists for his association with al-Qaida, the Taliban and ISIL and for financing and facilitating bomb attacks and supplying arms to JI.
Originally published as Geelong survivor's anger as Bali bomber set to be released