Thursday, July 22, 2004

Bashir trial within a month: Indonesia

Radical Muslim cleric and suspected Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir will face trial within a month, authorities said.

A spokesman for Indonesia's attorney-general's office said Bashir would soon be transferred from police custody at Jakarta Police Headquarters and placed under the jurisdiction of the attorney.

"Our prosecutors are now drafting charges against Bashir while waiting for the police to hand him over to us," Kemas Yahya Rahman told the Jakarta Post.

"Usually by this stage, we will bring a suspect to court within a month."

Bashir's lawyer Adnan Wirawan said the legal team had yet to be formally advised when the trial, which could end in the death penalty for the 65-year-old, will begin.

"It will be held soon in the South Jakarta district court," he said.

Kemas refused to say what charges the prosecutors would present against Bashir, who has been accused of links to terrorist attacks across Indonesia since 1999, including the Bali bombings and the attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which together killed 214 people.

But investigators are expected to base their case on evidence from jailed JI members in Indonesia and overseas to prove Bashir was the emir, or leader, or JI.

Some of that evidence would include a report from JI's secret "military academy" in the southern Philippines sent to Bashir along with a letter from the training camp governor Hafid Ibrahim al Mustofa, alias Abu Tolud.

Other documents allege Bashir inducted JI militants at a passing out parade at the Hudaibiyah camp in the Philippines in April 2000.

Police named Bashir as terrorist suspect on April 16 and charged him under four sections of the anti-terrorism laws related to planning, aiding and perpetrating terrorist attacks.

A previous attempt to convict him last year failed amid allegations of police blunders.

Instead, he was sentenced to prison for minor immigration offences and document forgery.

Bashir was rearrested in April after serving 18 months in jail, triggering riots among his supporters and clashes with police.

Bashir has always denied links to terrorism and claims he is being victimised because he campaigns for Islamic law in Indonesia.

He has accused Indonesia's government of bowing to pressure from the United States and Australia for a new trial.

Source: The Age.

Ps: Amatlah dikesali, demi tekanan antarabangsa atas nama "memerangi gerakan keganasan" (spell memerangi gerakan Islamiah)... dai'e yang seorang ni juga menjadi yang scapegoat.

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