Indonesia ready to charge Bashir

Indonesian police said on Friday that Abu Bakar Bashir will be charged soon for his alleged involvement in a series of bombings in the country between 1999 and 2002.

    Bashir has protested his innocence and claims US interference

    Commissioner General Suyitno Landung, detective chief at the
    Indonesian national police force, said investigators have continued their efforts to improve the dossiers on Bashir before submitting them to the court to proceed with a trial against the well-known Muslim cleric.
    Indonesian Police will accuse "Bashir under anti-terrorism laws of his alleged involvement in a string of bombing incidents in the country from 1999 until 2002," Landung told reporters.

    Building the case

    Police have based their case on information collected from other suspects as well as from the men already convicted for terrorism. Bashir was behind a string of bombing attacks in the country, Landung added.

    Three people have already received death sentences for playing major roles in the bombing of two nightspots in Bali on 12 October 2002 that killed 202 people, mostly westerners.

    Nearly 30 others also received sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment in the Bali blasts case.

    Bashir, 66, the alleged spiritual leader of al-Jamah al-Islamiya (JI), which is alleged to have links with al-Qaida, was rearrested on 30 April as he stepped out of a Jakarta prison after completing an 18-month jail term for minor immigration violations and forgery.

    The Bali bombings left 202 people,
    mostly westerners, dead

    In an intial case against him, prosecutors failed to convince the judges that Bashir was the spiritual leader of JI.


    Public prosecutors and police were widely blamed for failing to present a solid case against the cleric, who was recharged for "terrorist" activities in April amid alleged pressure from the United States.

    If found guilty of violating anti-terrorism laws, enacted shortly after the October 2002 Bali bombings, Bashir could face a maximum sentence of the death penalty.

    Bashyr denies links to terrorism and claims the JI does not exist.

    An Indonesian district court last week rejected a lawsuit filed by Bashir's defence lawyers, demanding his release from detention.

    The court said the re-arrest of the elderly Muslim scholar by police was legal.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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