Bali bomb maker out of prison

Last updated 19:19 07/08/2014

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The man who made the Bali bombs that killed 20 people, including four Australians, is out of jail and back in a community where extremism is again blooming in militant networks.

Muhammad Cholili, 36, was sentenced to 18 years' jail in 2006 for helping to craft the bombs used to attack the restaurants on October 1, 2005.

Cholili was freed on parole on Wednesday, with the approval of Indonesia's national board on terrorism and the Australian-funded anti-terror unit Detachment 88.

Corrections directorate-general Ika Yusanti says he became eligible for parole in April, having received several remissions and having an unblemished prison record.

His release comes just weeks after Abu Bakar Bashir, the jailed spiritual leader of the network responsible for the bombings,  pledged his support to the violent extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

Indonesia's government estimates around 60 citizens have joined the conflict in Syria.

With growing concern over photos of Bashir's oath and other propaganda circulating widely online, Indonesia this week officially banned support for ISIS.

Indonesia's Koran Tempo newspaper reported Cholili was himself surprised to have won parole. As he was picked up from jail by a friend, he told reporters he wouldn't return to terrorism: ''I will find a job, of any kind,'' he  said.

Terror expert Noor Huda Ismail says it's vital Cholili is watched as he re-integrates into his central Java community, which is a ''hot spot'' for radical activity.

''He could reconnect with terror networks if there is no systematic effort to constantly monitor him, or direct him to be a contributing member of the community,'' he said.

While Cholili had de-radicalisation sessions in prison, the parole officers monitoring him are chronically underfunded and sometimes one officer keeps watch over as many as 50 parolees, Noor said.

The Monash University academic, who also runs a foundation that helps ex-terrorists fit back into the community, has called for the Indonesian government to ramp up its intelligence on combatants' movements, as well as efforts to de-radicalise any returned jihadists.

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