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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Indonesian Islamic militant on trial

The head of an Islamic militia in Indonesia which sent several thousand of its members to the Moluccan Islands to fight local Christians has gone on trial in Jakarta.

Jafar Umar Thalib is being charged over a speech he made in the regional capital, Ambon, in May, two days before twelve Christian villagers were massacred.

He is accused of incitement to hatred and violence and insulting the President, Megawati Sukarnoputri

He denies the charges and insists he is only a religious teacher.

The proceedings were adjourned when the judge ruled that Mr Thalib was ill.

More than 5,000 people have died in the Moluccas in the past three years of fighting between Christians and Muslims. Mr Thalib's organisation, Laskar Jihad, has been accused of sending in hundreds of volunteers trained in military-style camps in Java.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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