posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 05:50 AM
Cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who is believed to have founded the Indonesian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, has today been sentenced to 30 months in
jail for his involvement in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing. Although being found guilty of conspiring to the incident he was cleared of actually
ordering the attack. The judges also cleared the cleric of planning the 2003 suicide bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta.
Ba'asyir, who could be released by October 2006, had faced a maximum penalty of death for the most serious charges but analysts had predicted his
punishment would be far less, partly due to the prosecutors' weak case. During the five-month trial, only one witness testified that Ba'asyir headed
Jemaah Islamiyah, the group blamed in both attacks.
Both sides said they would consider appealing against the verdict, with Ba'asyir's lawyers calling the sentence politically motivated. The cleric and
his supporters have claimed Jakarta was under pressure from Washington to find him guilty.
"I'm being oppressed by people from abroad and at home," Ba'asyir, surrounded by cheering supporters, said after the verdict. "They are slaves to
immoral behaviour. They make immoral behaviour their guide. Open their hearts or destroy them."
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It seems the sentence is so short as a result of political pressure on both ends. On the one hand many believe he was directly responsible for both
attacks but their is very little evidence to support it, and on the other he claims he is innocent but Jakarta is being pressured by the US to find
Whatever the truth it seems the judges have played it safe to avoid upsetting both sides.