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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Cleric faces charges over Bali
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
Prosecutors in Indonesia say they have charged the militant Islamic cleric, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, with involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Police say Ba'asyir is the spiritual leader of the radical Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah, suspected of being behind the bombings.

On Friday, Ba'asyir was charged with ordering the bombing last year of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta.

He was in jail at the time of that attack, and denies terror links.

His trial is expected to start on 28 October.

Tough job

More than 200 people were killed when two bombs ripped through the nightclub area of the holiday island of Bali two years ago.

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

Prosecutors say one of the convicted Bali bombers, Amrozi, had asked Mr Bashir for permission to carry out the Bali attacks.

However, the BBC's Tim Johnston in Jakarta says they could have a tough time proving the charges.

Indonesia's anti-terror law was passed after the Bali bombing and cannot be used retroactively, so he will have to be tried under the criminal code which has a higher burden of proof.

Ba'asyir's lawyers say that although he believes Muslims should robustly express their discontent with Western policies, particularly on Iraq and Palestine, the tactics of the bombers were wrong.

Clampdown promise

His accusers say at the very least, he was aware of the planned attacks and could have stopped them.

They point out that more than half the so far identified Bali bombers were graduates of the Islamic boarding school he founded and ran until his arrest two years ago.

Indonesia will swear in a new president next week. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has promised to clamp down on violent militants, and our correspondent says many people will see the Ba'asyir trial as a test of his commitment.

Ba'asyir was arrested soon after the 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.


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