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
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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