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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 14:06 GMT
Indonesian police summon cleric
Abubaker Bashir
Abubaker Bashir says he has never met Bin Laden
Police in Indonesia say they have summoned for questioning a militant Muslim cleric, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir.

They have been under pressure to question him from the authorities in Malaysia and Singapore, who have accused Mr Ba'asyir of being a leader of a network of militant Islamic groups allegedly linked to Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.

I have never met Osama Bin Laden, I have only heard his speeches on cassette

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has repeatedly denied any links to al-Qaeda.

Mr Ba'asyir, leader of the radical Mujahidin Council, has been asked to speak to police on Thursday.

Before he was summoned, Mr Bashir told BBC Jakarta correspondent Richard Galpin that the accusations against him were unclear.

"I have been living here in Indonesia for the past three years and have not set foot in Malaysia in that time," he said during a seminar in Yogyakarta.

Anti-war protester with Bin Laden poster
Support for Bin Laden is not uncommon in Indonesia
"I have never met Osama Bin Laden, I have only heard his speeches on cassette."

Our correpondent said that though Mr Ba'asyir's Yogyakarta speech calling for strict Sharia law was unremarkable, it was extraordinary to see such a public appearance by a man wanted in both neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.

Mr Ba'asyir's lawyer Suryanto Bakri said police might question his client over his suspected ties with al-Qaeda - blamed by the United States for the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington - or other Muslim extremist groups in South East Asia.

"Yes, that may be the case," Mr Bakri told the Reuters news agency. "But my client has said he had nothing to do with it."

Mr Ba'asyir, who previously lived in Malaysia for 13 years, told an Indonesian newspaper he knew some of the suspected militants arrested in Malaysia because they had been his pupils.

Philippines arrest

Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi,
Philippine police say Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi is an explosives expert
The Indonesian police also plan to send officials to Manila to help Philippine officers in investigating an arrested 30-year-old Indonesian man suspected of links with al-Qaeda.

Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi was detained on 15 January in connection with a series of deadly explosions in the Philippines in 2000.

Police said they were acting on Information from Singapore alleging he was a key member of the militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiya.

Analyst say the group wants to establish its own Islamic state that would include parts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

See also:

21 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian cleric denies Bin Laden link
15 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian radical calls for Islamic law
12 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia confirms al-Qaeda presence
15 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's Islamic radicals
11 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
'Americans targeted' in Singapore
04 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia holds 'militant Muslims'
24 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia denies harbouring terrorists
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