More than 300 convicted terrorists will finish their prison sentences in Indonesia over the next 12 months, according to a report in The Australian.
Yesterday, Indonesia said it would halt some intelligence sharing as well as anti-terrorism co-operation and joint activities to combat people smugglers.
The released of the terrorists highlights why intelligence co-operation is important to both countries. Reportedly, the Australian Signals Directorate was essential to the investigations which followed the Bali bombings.
According to ASIO’s most recent annual report, the release of terrorists in Indonesia presents a threat to Australia’s domestic security.
“The impending release of terrorist detainees from Indonesian prisons, a spike of which is expected to occur in 2014 is likely to increase this (terror) threat,” Australia’s domestic spy agency warned.
“Many of the individuals scheduled to be released in this period have undertaken terrorist training or have been linked to, or involved in, bombings against either Western of local targets.
“Their release is likely to inject significant capability into extremist networks. The expertise and anti-Western credentials of some individuals have the potential to refocus and reinvigorate currently diffuse and relatively unsophisticated extremist networks.”
Relations between Australia and Indonesia have reached their lowest point in recent years after it was revealed Australian spies at the ASD (then known as the Defence Signals Directorate) tapped Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s mobile phone.
They also monitored his wife’s phone, as well as those belonging to senior cabinet members and individuals in the President’s inner circle.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined requests for an apology, explaining in parliament that all countries spy and that intelligence gathering operations were in the national interest.
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