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Indonesia jails cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir for 15 years
Jakarta, Jun 16 (Agencies):
Published on 16 Jun. 2011 10:24 PM IST
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Indonesia has jailed radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir for 15 years, after he was convicted of supporting an Islamic militant training camp in Aceh.
The sentence was handed down amid tight security at court in Jakarta, where more than 3,000 police were on duty. Ba’asyir, 72, was convicted of helping to organise a jihadi training camp that was planning to attack government targets and impose an Islamic state. He has been involved in radical Islamic groups in Indonesia for four decades.
Over the years, he has been repeatedly arrested, jailed and then released.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Ba’asyir, but the sentence is the longest he has yet received.
The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta says it is debatable whether the verdict will have much impact on the fight against terrorism in Indonesia.
Ba’asyir can continue to preach his message even from his prison cell, our correspondent says. He was arrested by anti-terror police last August, months after the training camp in Aceh was raided by police.
The discovery of the camp has so far led to the arrests of more than 120 terrorism suspects over several months. The Aceh camp drew together militants from several different jihadi groups.
Experts believe they were planning to form a militia to kill government officials, moderate Muslims and influential non-Muslims.
Ba’asyir has repeatedly said the allegations against him were “engineered by America”.
In previous cases, he has been convicted of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bomb attacks, in which more than 200 people died.
But he was freed in 2006 after his sentence was cut, and his conviction was eventually quashed on appeal.
Most analysts agree that he has been the spiritual leader of the military jihadi network Jemaah Islamiah for a number of years. But he was cleared of involvement with the group after a trial in 2003.

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