05/16/2005, 00.00
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Supreme Court upholds Islamic guilty verdict handed to cleric

Abu Bakar Bashir's sentence to two and a half years in jail for complicity in the 2002 Bali bombing is upheld.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In a ruling made last week during a closed session, Indonesia's Supreme Court upheld the guilty verdict and the two and a half year sentence handed to Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

Hussein Kasim, a spokesperson for the Court, said: "In their ruling, the panel of judges upheld the verdict made by the South Jakarta district court".

The cleric was found guilty of complicity in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people. He was sentenced on March 3 of this year for that crime, but was found not guilty of the suicide attack against Jakarta's JW Mariott Hotel in which 12 peopled died.

The judges found that Bashir was not directly involved in the execution of the Bali attack but had 'approved' it. The Prosecution had demanded eight years.

In sentencing him, the District Court said that the accused had known that the people who carried out the attack in Bali had been trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan . . . The evidence for his complicity was there."

In both cases, Bashir was tried under the regular Penal Code instead of the more draconian anti-terrorist laws adopted after the 2002 attack.

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