CLERIC ABU BAKAR BASHIR ON TERROR TRIAL
Indonesia’s most well-known radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been charged, on Monday 02/14/2011, with planning to use weapons to commit acts of terror. “Abu Bakar Bashir planned and mobilised other people to break Indonesian law by providing firearms, munitions, explosive materials and other dangerous materials to be used to carry out an act of terrorism,” according to a copy of the 93-page indictment against Bashir seen by the AFP news agency (see als – Banda Aceh 02.23.10).
Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of the Al Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah (see – INDONESIAN JI), insisted the charges filed against him were “fabricated” as he arrived at the South Jakarta District Court on Monday.
“I understand in principle that I am being accused of being the leader of a militant group in Aceh. Such allegations have been engineered and are just empty talk,” he told the judges after hearing the charges against him. Bashir faces a maximum penalty of death if found guilty of helping fund a new terror cell in Aceh province and mobilizing foot soldiers (see – Arrests 08.08.10).
Indonesia has won praise for largely defeating terror groups, but analysts and rights groups say a recent increase in acts of religious intolerance shows extremism still has a hold on the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
In recent weeks, hardliners also have stepped up attacks on Christians and minority sect members.
Bashir is also the “Amir” of the above-ground Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) Islamic group, which draws support from thousands of often unemployed youths who attend public rallies and sermons by firebrand preachers.
* Abu-Tholut, on Monday 03/21/2011, told a court he received funds from key allies of radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to run the “Al-Qaeda in Aceh” militant training camp.
“I never asked but I received money… Rp 40 million from Ubaid and Rp 100 million from Abdul Haris,” Abu Tholut said during his witness testimony given via a video link at Bashir’s trial.