Indonesian authorities on Saturday moved Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, a convicted terrorist leader, from Nusa Kambangan Prison Island in Central Jakarta amid demands by his lawyer to end his "inhumane" treatment.
The ailing 77-year-old Ba'asyir was confined to a tiny isolation cell on Nusa Kambangan in the wake of the Jan. 14 suicide bombings in the Indonesian capital Jakarta to prevent him from radicalizing other prisoners and to cut him off from extremist networks.
Hendra Eka Putra, the chief warden, said Ba'asyir was moved to Gunung Sindur prison, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Jakarta. He was transported in an armored car from Jakarta to the prison in an operation involving more than 230 officers.
Ba'asyir's lawyer Mohammad Mahendradatta said Thursday that the condition of Ba'asyir's two-square-meter square cell was "simply shocking and inhumane treatment against him is causing his health to deteriorate."
"His transfer was made on the basis of humanity because of his old and health-related rights," Putra said. "The government has considered that he needed a prison that has better health facilities and doctors."
Ba'asyir, the spiritual leader of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) radical organization, was imprisoned after the South Jakarta District Court found him guilty of funding a terrorist training camp in Aceh and sentenced him to 15 years in 2011.
Prosecutors said he was a key player in funding a militant training camp in Aceh that brought together men from almost every known extremist group in predominantly Muslim Indonesia. A higher court later cut the sentence to nine years.
Mahendradatta had told The Associated Press that Ba'asyir was kept in his isolation cell for 23 hours a day and slept on thin mats over a cement floor without blankets. He was denied reading materials and personal items, regularly awakened from his sleep because of mosquitoes, and consultations with medical staff took place behind barriers.
Putra declined to say whether authorities would continue to isolate Ba'asyir in his new prison. He said Ba'asyir would not be denied basic rights.
The Gunung Sindur maximum-security prison in Bogor regency, West Java, which was built in 2010, is equipped with high-tech security measures including cellular signal jammers to prevent unauthorized communications by inmates. (bbn)
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