Jakarta confirms sentence for Abu Bakar Bashir: He was financing the jihadists

The Islamic leader, 77, has lost his appeal against 15 years in prison. He is a key member of Jemaah Islamiah group which claimed the 2002 Bali attacks. In January, hundreds of protesters had called for his release.

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Abu Bakar Bashir, the Indonesian Islamic leader sentenced to 15 years for funding a fundamentalist training camp, has lost his appeal and will remain in jail.

The cleric, 77, is suspected of being a key member of the jihadist Jemaah Islamiah network, the Indonesian al Qaeda cell. The group is responsible for the attack in Bali in 2002 which killed more than 200 people, mostly tourists.

Bashir was convicted in 2011 for having paid money to a paramilitary group Islamic Aceh, the only province in the country where sharia exists. According to authorities the jihadists were planning to kill the president, and Western tourists.

Last January, at the beginning of the appeal process, hundreds of people protested outside the court to for the clerics release. The defense said that the funds raised through Bashir were allocated to aid the population of the Palestinian territories, but then were diverted to Aceh without the cleric knowing.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal for lack of new evidence.

Since 2000, Islamic terrorism has struck repeatedly Indonesia, whose special forces, however, have weakened the most dangerous jihadist groups. Last July 20 the terrorist Santoso was killed. He was the leader of East Indonesian Mujahidin (MIT), an extremist cell affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) and the government's most wanted man.