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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Cleric guilty over Bali bombings

BBC REPORT: Cleric guilty over Bali bombings

Excerpt: An Indonesian court has found the cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir guilty of conspiracy over the Bali bombings.

However, he has been under cleared of involvement in a bomb attack on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003.

He is likely to receive a jail term of two-and-a-half years - a relatively lenient sentence, says our Jakarta correspondent, Rachel Harvey.

The ageing Muslim cleric has denied the charges and is expected to appeal.

His lawyers have attacked the trial as an attempt by the authorities to placate the US.

Angry reaction

Our correspondent says the atmosphere in the court swung from one extreme to another as the verdict was read out.

The announcement that Ba'asyir could not be convicted of the Marriott hotel attack was greeted with cheers by his supporters - but they protested as he was found guilty of the Bali bombings.

The cleric was convicted over the Bali bombings under ordinary criminal legislation, rather than the harsher anti-terror laws, which were only brought in after the 2002 attacks.

...More than 200 people died when bombs blew up in bars frequented by foreign tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002.

Prosecutors who accused Ba'asyir of inspiring the Bali bombings and subsequent attacks had pushed for a jail sentence of eight years.

Click here for Full BBC Report

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