Friday, August 27, 2004

Abu Bakar Bashir's lawyers demand his release

Lawyers for Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is accused of leading the group responsible for the Bali bombings, say they will formally demand his release.

Lawyer Muhammad Assegaf says he will ask the head of the national police to release Bashir and revoke his status as suspect.

The move follows last Friday's ruling by the Constitutional Court, that the retroactive use of the 2003 anti terror legislation to cover the Bali bombings is unconstitutional.

Bashir is currently being held under the anti terror law.

Police say they have evidence that Bashir is the leader of the Al Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, which staged the October 2002 Bali bombings and numerous other attacks.

Bashir has denied charges of involvement in terrorism and he says they are a US inspired smear campaign against Islam.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said the legal decision had not lessened Indonesia's commitment to fight terrorism.

He said the ruling was Indonesia's internal matter, but he understood the concern of Australia.

Eighty-eight of the 202 people killed in Bali were Australians.

28/07/2004 19:04:56 | ABC Radio Australia News

AG: Will fight for justice till the end.

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