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Radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir gets sentence reduced JAKARTA - A radical Islamic cleric accused of setting up a terror training camp in western Indonesia had his prison sentence slashed from 15 years to 9 years, an appeals court said Wednesday. No reason was given for the decision.

Abu Bakar Bashir, known as the spiritual leader of al-Qaida-linked militants blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, was accused of providing key support for the camp that brought together men from almost every known extremist group in the predominantly Muslim country.

Jihadists at the camp, uncovered in Aceh province last year, were allegedly planning Mumbai-styled gun attacks on foreigners in the capital, Jakarta, and assassinations of moderate leaders such as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

In March, a district court sentenced the 72-year-old cleric to 15 years in prison for inciting terrorism, but his lawyers appealed. The Jakarta High Court quietly handed down its ruling Oct. 20. "All I can say right now is that his sentence was reduced to nine years," Achmad Sobari, a court spokesman, told The Associated Press. "I do not know exactly what factors were taking into account in the judge's decision."

Bashir's lawyer, Mohammad Mahendradatta, said he was awaiting official notification from the court. He stressed, however, that his client was innocent and should be freed. Even nine years was an outrage, he said, vowing to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Bashir, a potent symbol for Indonesia's radical Islamists, spent several previous stints in detention. But efforts to link him to terrorist activities have repeatedly fallen short. Arrested almost immediately after the Bali blasts, prosecutors were unable to prove direct involvement, and judges sentenced him to 18 months in prison for immigration violations.

Soon after his release, he was re-arrested and sentenced to 2 1/2 years, this time for inciting the twin nightclub attacks. That charge was overturned on appeal and he was freed in 2006. Last year he was rearrested, this time for his role in the Aceh camp.


Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism') Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism'):
23 October 2011 · Umar Patek returns to Bali for Bali Bomb reenactment
18 October 2011 · Three suspected terrorists arrested
28 September 2011 · Indonesian church bomber identified as wanted terrorist
27 September 2011 · NU: 'Suicide bombing can never be a form of jihad'
27 September 2011 · Police: 'Suicide bomber was not alone'
25 September 2011 · Two dead in suicide bomb attack on Surakarta church

Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism') Tags: Abu Bakar Bashir, sentence, reduce


Posted in Terrorism @ 27 October 2011 05:50 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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