Indonesian cleric gets 15 years for supporting terrorist training camp

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The Independent Online

The Indonesian cleric and spiritual leader of the Islamist militants behind the 2002 Bali bombings has been jailed for 15 years for his support of a militant training camp.

Abu Bakar Bashir's conviction for incitement of terrorism followed two unsuccessful attempts by prosecutors over the past eight years to link him to militant activities.

The verdict was announced at a Jakarta courthouse amid tight security. Hundreds of Bashir's supporters demonstrated outside the court, some carrying placards saying "Free Abu Bakar Bashir".

Prosecutors said Bashir, 72, provided key support for a jihadi training camp discovered in early 2010 in Aceh province. Militants there allegedly intended to carry out attacks on foreigners and moderate Muslim leaders. Bashir was found guilty of inciting terrorism, but he was cleared of a charge of funding terrorist activities.

Bashir was arrested after the Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, but prosecutors were unable to prove a string of terrorism-related allegations and reduced his four-year prison sentence to 18 months for immigration violations. Soon after his release, he was re-arrested and sentenced to two-and-a-half years, this time for inciting the Bali blasts, a charge that was overturned on appeal. He was freed in 2006.

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