Supreme Court in Jakarta: Abu Bakar Baasyr must serve 15 years in prison
by Mathias Hariyadhi
District Court sentence which had reduced the sentence to nine years for the radical Muslim religious leader, accused of financing terrorist groups, overturned. Recently, the U.S. State Department declared his organization a "terrorist group".

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian Supreme Court has decided: 15 years in prison for Abu Bakar Baasyr, convicted of having financed the training of a clandestine paramilitary group of terrorists in the province of Aceh. And this despite the protests of the same radical religious leader, and his followers, accusing Washington of having exercised strong interference in his case. The Supreme Court has effectively annulled the decision of Jakarta District Court that had significantly reduced the first sentence, from 15 to nine years. (AsiaNews 24/02/2012 Abu Bakar Baasyir's Islamic Association declared "terrorist group").

Baasyr is the founder and leader of the Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), a few days before the judgment the U.S. State Department declared him the leader of a terrorist group and therefore banned from any financial transactions with U.S. entities. Before creating JAT, Baasyr founded his first radical Muslim group called Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI) or Indonesian Mujahedeen Council. He later decided to abandon the MMI because of strong differences of opinion with other States on the legal issues and the formation of the Islamic State of Indonesia.

When the Supreme Court confirmed the first sentence of 15 years on February 28, the faithful of Baasyr announced that another legal appeal will be submitted soon to change the verdict. The Supreme Court's decision was taken unanimously by a panel of judges among them three senior judges, including figures such as Djoko Sarwoko, Mansyur Kertayasa and Anda Saman Nganro.