Radical Indonesian cleric Bashir could face death penalty
Jakarta: Indonesian prosecutors promised a swift trial of radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir after police charged him on Monday with inciting others to commit terrorist acts, a crime carrying the death penalty.
"We want to try him very quickly," South Jakarta prosecutors office chief Mohammed Yusuf told reporters after the aged extremist presented himself under tight security to hear the indictment.
Dozens of heavily armed police and two armoured vehicles were on hand as the alleged spiritual leader of Indonesian jihad, or holy war, was transferred from his prison where he has been on remand since August.
The indictment charges Bashir, whose anti-Western tirades and conspiracy theories have made him a figurehead for local extremists, with multiple crimes under the anti-terror law.
They include providing funds for terrorist activities and encouraging people to carry out acts of terrorism, related to a militant training camp that was discovered in Aceh province earlier this year.
"The harshest allegation is that he incited others to commit crimes of terrorism, which carries the death penalty," Yusuf said.
The trial is not expected to start for at least two months.
Sporting his usual wispy white beard and white Islamic dress, the frail 71-year-old made no comment to reporters but his lawyer said he denied the allegations and would not sign the indictment.
The "Al-Qaeda in Aceh" group featured some of Southeast Asia`s most-wanted terror suspects and was plotting Mumbai-style attacks on embassies, hotels and political figures in Jakarta, police have said.
Bashir`s arrest came after a series of raids which netted over 100 terror suspects nationwide as police dismantled the Aceh-based network.
The bespectacled cleric served almost 26 months for conspiracy over the 2002 attacks on Bali nightspots that killed 202 people, before being cleared and released in 2006.
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