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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Cleric charged with hotel bombing
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir is being escorted from prison after being re-arrested in April
Ba'asyir denies all links with terror or militant group JI
Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has been charged with involvement in a 2003 bomb attack on a Jakarta hotel, prosecutors say.

Ba'asyir, in jail at the time of that attack, has always denied terror links.

He has also been linked in the past with militant network Jemaah Islamiah, blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings.

But prosecutors have said he would not be charged with that attack, which took place before a new terror law was enacted.

"Ba'asyir is charged with motivating or ordering people to take part in terrorism, in this case related to the J W Marriott [hotel] bombing," prosecutor Andi Herman said after filing a 65-page charge sheet against Ba'asyir with South Jakarta District Court.

Taught at Islamic school
Arrested a week after the Oct 2002 Bali bombings
Sept 2003 - found guilty of sedition and immigration offences
But acquitted of being spiritual leader of JI
Dec 2003 - Sedition charge quashed on appeal
April 2004 - Rearrested and faces terrorism charges
July 2004 - Charges relating to Bali attack dropped in light of court ruling
August 2004 - Police hand file on Ba'asyir to prosecutors

It is not clear whether he will also be charged with leading JI.

His trial is expected to start in about two weeks, Yunda Hasbi, an official at the South Jakarta district court, told reporters.

Charged before

Ba'asyir, a teacher in an Islamic school in central Java, was arrested soon after the Bali nightclub bombings, accused of leading JI and subversion.

Those charges were overturned on appeal, but he remained in detention on immigration-related offences.

He was re-arrested in April as he stepped out of jail after serving that sentence.

Prosecutors have previously linked Ba'asyir with the Bali attacks, but say the law under which he would be tried was passed after the bombings, and cannot be used retroactively.

Ba'asyir's lawyer, Wirawan Adnan, insisted that prosecutors "really don't have a case" this time.

But he said he was still worried that his client would be found guilty.

"He has a good alibi. He was in jail when this happened," he said. "But I don't think we'll win this case. He'll be in jail forever."

Why the case against him is hard to substantiate

Profile: Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
29 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Jemaah Islamiah still a threat
13 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific


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