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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 12:59 GMT
Indonesia cleric denies Bali link
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir in court, 1st Feb
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir denies all the charges against him
Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has formally denied any involvement in the Bali bombings in 2002 and the Marriott Hotel attack in 2003.

Testifying at his trial in Jakarta, he said the bombers were wrong to stage attacks in Indonesia, because it was not a nation at war.

Ba'asyir also denied he was connected to the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah, which he is accused of leading.

If found guilty of the charges against him, he could be sentenced to death.

Wearing a grey jacket and Muslim skullcap, Ba'asyir told the court that he supported jihad, but not in Indonesia.

"I could not have supported the Marriott and Bali bombings because they were committed in places of peace and not conflict zones," Ba'asyir said.

"If the aim were to attack the interests of the United States, the country that has clearly violated and attacked Islam, they should have taken up arms in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines or other such places."

Ba'asyir is charged with inspiring his followers to carry out the 2002 bombings in the resort island of Bali, and the Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta in 2003.

CHARGES AGAINST BA'ASYIR
Under anti-terror law:
  • Conspiring, planning and inciting acts of terrorism (e.g. Marriott attacks)
  • Using position to influence/persuade others
  • Withholding information
  • Under criminal code:
  • Accessory to Bali attacks

  • Ba'asyir insists he is innocent, and says he is being prosecuted because of a demand from the United States.

    Ba'asyir has faced trial before on similar charges, but Tuesday was the first time he directly denied the accusations against him in these court proceedings.

    Ba'asyir was first arrested shortly after the Bali blasts, but initial attempts to convict him of leading JI failed.

    He did, however, serve 18 months for immigration violations and was re-arrested as soon as he had finished his sentence, with police saying they had new evidence linking him to terrorist activities.




    SEE ALSO:
    US 'wanted Ba'asyir detained'
    13 Jan 05 |  Asia-Pacific
    Abu Bakar Ba'asyir's legal saga
    27 Oct 04 |  Asia-Pacific
    Profile: Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
    27 Oct 04 |  Asia-Pacific
    Jemaah Islamiah still a threat
    13 Sep 04 |  Asia-Pacific
    The Bali bombing plot
    02 Oct 03 |  Asia-Pacific


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