Facts about Abu Bakar Bashir

An Indonesian court has sentenced Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to two and a half years in jail for his part in a conspiracy to carry out the October 2002 Bali bombings.

    Abu Bakar Bashir is of Yemeni descent

    Following are some facts about the man Western governments

    accuse of leading Jemaah Islamiya, a Southeast Asian group seen

    as the regional arm of al-Qaida:

    - Bashir was born on 17 August, 1938, in Jombang, a city in

    East Java province that has produced some of Indonesia's most

    famous Muslim scholars.

    Bashir is of Yemeni descent.

    - He was jailed in 1979 under former president Suharto

    for agitating to set up an Islamic state. In 1985, he escaped

    to Malaysia. He returned in 1999, a year after Suharto's

    downfall.

    - Bashir was a relatively obscure cleric until early 2002,

    when officials in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia first

    publicly accused him of being a key Jemaah Islamiya leader. He

    was arrested shortly after bombs ripped through two nightclubs

    in Bali in 2002, killing 202 people.

    - In September 2003, a court ruled charges brought under the

    criminal code over his leadership of Jemaah Islamiya and links

    to earlier violence were unproven. But he served 18 months for

    immigration offences.

    - Upon his release in April 2004, police immediately

    re-arrested him on new charges linked, among other cases, to

    the Bali bombings. The current trial began in October.

    - On 3 March, a court found Bashir guilty of being

    part of a conspiracy to carry out the Bali bombings, but

    cleared him of more serious charges of ordering the attack and

    masterminding the 2003 car bombing of the JW Marriott hotel

    in Jakarta.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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