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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 17:19 GMT
Bali bombing: Has justice been done?
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
Radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has been found guilty of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings, in which 202 people died, by an Indonesian court.

But he was cleared of more serious charges over a bomb attack on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003.

Ba'asyir, who was given a two-and-a-half year jail sentence, is expected to appeal. He rejected the verdict and denied being directly involved in the attack.

Australia, which lost 88 people in the Bali attacks, has condemned the sentence as lenient and "disappointing".

What do you think of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir's sentence? Has justice been done?


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This cleric is an example of the extremists and fanatics found in the Islamic religion who twist and use the religion to spread hate and tell their followers to kill infidels around them. They are afraid that western culture and religion will prove to be civilized than Islam so they strike at westerners the only way they can. No more arabesques, arabic numbers or arabic architecture. It is now the time of the Islamic suicide bomber.
Alonzo DeMayo, Vancouver, BC, Canada

This is a definitive victory of the justice system in Indonesia, notwithstanding that the sentence is a short two and a half year. This sends a clear signal to the clerics who are interfering with the politics and corrupting the young minds, that hiding behind the shield of religion gets you nowhere. We should keep an eye on the court's response when he puts up the appeal and the eventual outcome of the appeal. That will be the real test of the Indonesian justice system.
Jasmin Yussoff, Malaysia

One day he will be judged by the God whose name he used to carry out these atrocities
Brian, Indonesia

One day he will be judged by the God whose name he used to carry out these atrocities. I hope that day is soon. Unfortunately there are plenty of other religious zealots in this country to quickly take his place.
Brian, Indonesia

My heart goes out to the good people of Australia. This was insult on top of injury.
Bill Grant, New York City, USA

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir obviously has friends in high places. Australia needs to understand that Jakarta is not their friend.
Anonymous

Justice or not, two-and-a-half years for this man has no great impact. But think about how promising is this sentence for other extremists or terrorists to exchange for 200 innocent lives.
Eddie, Ampang, Malaysia

Maybe the sentence was light because the judge agreed with what he did. A small sentence showed the world justice had been done.
Chris O'Donnell, UK/Barbados

Well, I wasn't there in court listening to all the evidence - I have only selective media reports. Still, I'm sure that this objectionable man isn't going to get an easy time in an Indonesian prison! Time to move on... there is no need to expend precious emotional energy on hate and revenge; that just reduces us to the level of this nasty little man.
Mark M Newdick, US/UK

The BBC does not have the right to ask
Wei Cheng, Toronto
Ba'asyir was convicted for inciting violence, not carrying out violence. Let's remember many Indonesians have died in the Bali bombing. Their justice system should be left alone. The BBC does not have the right to ask "Has justice been done?" Wei
Wei Cheng, Toronto

What a shame the world has become too "civilized" to fight fire with fire. After the deaths this evil man has caused, directly and indirectly, he should have been executed under Sharia Law, after having been given suitable time to make his peace with Allah. Executing him may well create a martyr, but martyrs all share one common trait: They can no longer order murders such as this.
Ian, Brit in USA

Mr Ba'asyir evaded justice and makes the Indonesian government look like a friend to the terrorists. Whenever these guys are slapped on the wrist for these crimes it is a mockery to any government which attempts to protect it citizens.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

I cannot understand how someone, having been found guilty of being complicit in the murder of over 200 innocent people, can then only receive the sentence of a thief or a vandal.
John, Singapore

No, but neither was it done in the Mark Thatcher case!
Bill Hughes

Time for the authorities to disrupt his networks
Anne, Australia
It's a move in the right direction. He's been convicted and he is behind bars and out of the action for a couple of years. Time for the authorities to disrupt his networks while he's been moved sideways for a while.
Anne, Australia

This man masterminded terrors that killed hundreds of people. Half of them are Indonesians. Where is justice to our own people? How much longer do we have to put up with this group of people who keep bombing their own country. I have long lost faith in my government.
Rini, Jakarta, Indonesia

We are very angry at Abu Bakar Ba'asyir for stealing our religion for the wrong he does. Islam is a religion of peace. Allah - blessed be his name, tells us to live peace, not kill.
Suhandi, Jakarta, Indonesia

It is a start. What has to be remembered here is that because of the US insistence on persuading certain countries to deal with terrorists, at least some action is being taken; albeit somewhat half heartedly.
Ronald Williams, Colorado Springs, USA

Sentencing a hard-line cleric in a predominantly Muslim country is a difficult task. But Indonesia has done it with a lot of pressure from both internal and external forces. We need to salute this country.
Vijanth, Ipoh, Malaysia

Of course justice has been done. What do you people expect? A very weak case with flimsy evidence and no strong witnesses, doesn't lead to much. The big irony is, if the case was brought to an independent British or Australian court, the lawyers would definitely tear the case apart and Abu Bakar Ba'asyir would walk free.
Ndaru, Surabaya, Indonesia

This is really shameful and cannot be justified
Ian Winston, Brixton, UK

There appears to be an incredible lack of moral and common sense on the parts of many writers to this column, which I find very frightening and eye-opening. Women can be sentenced to many years in jail for kissing a man publicly in Indonesia. Where is the sense in the verdict against this 200+ murderer? This is really shameful and cannot be justified by silly excuses and comments about "root causes" for mass murder.
Ian Winston, Brixton, UK

Your more paranoid bloggers, focusing on the US's opinion of this, are missing the point. Over 200 people are dead because of this man. An entirely disproportionate punishment has been delivered. With each step, the international community's immorality is laid bare.
Julie, Rockford, IL, USA

We gave the local government a chance to deal with this terrorist leader on their own, and look what happened. They failed miserably. Now it's time to take more direct action. Hopefully the CIA will take care of this man.
Jeremy, Regina, Canada

The precedence was set by the UK and US when they gave surprisingly lenient sentences to those that tortured and killed at Abu-Ghraib and Guantanamo. It's all just a game to these governments. So when other governments play the same game why do you complain?
John Woods, Leamington Spa, UK

I feel a great injustice has been done. Obviously this cleric was the mastermind of a terror attack that killed 202 people. Anyone who takes part in a mass murder should be just as responsible as the person who detonated the bomb. He will be seen as a hero and he will be involved with more murder to come because of his freedom.

It is a clear statement from the government that they are if not condoning showing leniency to radical Islamic groups. This will do nothing but empower terrorists in Indonesia and around the global.
Byron, Washington, United States

Two years in an Indonesian prison is like 20 years
Heru, Jakarta, Indonesia
At his old age of 66, two-and-a-half years is a life sentence, or close to it. Prisons here are notorious for being some of the harshest and cruellest in the world. Two years in an Indonesian prison is like 20 years. 66 years of age is well past life expectancy in Indonesia. He'll probably die in prison sleeping on a concrete floor.
Heru, Jakarta, Indonesia

Yes, justice has been done. Whether the sentence is lenient and disappointing is none of any other countries' business. The Indonesian court has made its verdict and it must be respected by all. Please, don't ever belittle the rule of law in Indonesia. No country is perfect in its legal system including the most develop countries.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

Many people did indeed die in the Bali bombings. However, in a court of law, we don't judge according to our emotions. We judge according to the facts. Justice was served. We must now move on with our lives.
David Hutchins, Melbourne, Australia

This shattering news adds to the pain we live with every day
Robert and Sandra Empson
We are in the third year of our intense grief, having lost our only beloved daughter, Lucy, when she was caught up in the bombing during a 10-day holiday to Singapore and Bali. This shattering news adds to the pain we live with every day.
Robert and Sandra Empson, Amersham

We have moved away from "innocent until proven guilty" to the much more paranoid and somewhat damning "guilty until proven innocent". What are the precedents set in this, how can we make an ethical decision free from bias? How do we own up to our own vested interest or blind rage and personal feelings? What led to the act of terrorism in the first place. The apparent unwillingness to look into the "deeper" and more complicated issues have led us into a maze with no way out.
Cynthia, London, UK

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has been tried and sentenced by means of a properly constituted legal process - of course justice has been done! We may not like the outcome but it is better justice than illegal detentions.
A Patriot, St Andrews, Scotland

The only people who can judge whether justice has been done are those who witnessed all the evidence in the court. No one outside of that process is in a position to judge whether he had a fair trial and verdict.
Geoff Payne, London, England

He should have been given the same sentence as we, the families of victims have received - life
Sue Cooper
My brother, Paul Hussey was murdered by the Bali bomb. I am completely devastated at the very lenient sentence given to this man. Plenty of comments from other nations, but where are the comments from the British Government? There aren't any as usual! We are once again being ignored by the government! As we have been since the day our loved ones were murdered. This man is as guilty as if he had detonated the bomb, he should have been given the same sentence as we, the families of victims have received - life. He and all those connected with terrorism are not fit to live.
Sue Cooper

To put this into perspective, Charles Manson is in jail for the rest of his life for orchestrating, not participating in, the murder of several people over 30 years ago. This cleric does the same thing, kills nearly 200 more than Manson and gets a sentence one could expect for theft.
Mike, New Jersey, USA

I think the whole trial was a political drama. As always, the US has intervened in the internal matters of the sovereign nation by showing its dissatisfaction with the verdict. Leaders and people of the world need to address the root cause of terrorism.
Atif Dar, Islamabad, Pakistan

Of course justice has not been done, two-and-a-half years for being involved in the murder of 202 people. My family and I are living a life sentence, not just 2 1/2 years, as my daughter Laura, aged 18, and niece Natalie, aged 20, were both murdered in the Bali bombings and our lives have been devastated by people like him. Instead of planning a party for Laura's 21st birthday in 3 weeks time, I am planning a memorial plaque. She was never given the chance to be old and grey haired like him. People like him would not understand the heartbreak they cause as they cannot have a heart or feelings to murder children like ours.
Sandra France, Sheffield UK

The Bali killings were without doubt repugnant just as is the senseless killing of any civilian. However, guilt must be proven, not just asserted. I haven't followed the case or appraised the evidence to give a verdict on whether Mr Abu Bakar is guilty. If he is, regardless of a court's verdict, he will have to deal with his conscience.
Muhammad Bakr, Hamilton, Canada

Yes, justice has been done that Abu Bakar has been found guilty. However, the punishment is not commensurate with the crime committed. He should have been sentenced to death, jailed for life with no parole or exiled for life somewhere so he could not influence future activities of a similar nature. There were 200 deaths due to his actions.
Inderpal, Ann Arbor, USA

The mind boggles when the law does not support or protect the people, nor does it ever seem to represent the victims, only the perpetrators of injustice against society.
John, Brisbane, Australia

The judgement does not surprise me
Obaid, Boston, USA
The way the justice system works in the West and its former colonies is that there must be sufficient and irrefutable evidence against the accused. There was none against this individual. Hence the judgement does not surprise me. Judges have proven that are above the executive.
Obaid, Boston, USA

How can there be "more serious charges" than the murder of 202 people in a deliberate bombing? A single charge of conspiring to murder should garner a life sentence, while mass murder should send the entire condemnation of the world on his shoulders! Two-and-a-half years amounts to four and one-half days per person. Justice? Ha!
Dave McCarter, London, ON, Canada

Definitely not justice! I abhor the idea of capital punishment, but in this instance it may act as a deterrent to those who organise such acts of infamy.
Kevin O'Brien, Toowoomba, Australia

Do we really have the right to say whether the justice has been done?
Nani, Jakarta, Indonesia

A seriously short sighted decision. What a great advertisement to those that want to contribute to terrorism without lighting the fuse.
Nick, London

I believe the person behind the act is just as guilty as the person carrying out the act
Paul G, South Yorkshire
BBC News: Drug-user sets fire to hostel, kills 4, gets life, cleric is involved in bombings that kill hundreds and gets 30-months. What a messed up world. I believe the person behind the act is just as guilty as the person carrying out the act, if not more.
Paul G, South Yorkshire

Anybody found guilty of conspiracy or involvement in terrorism should be jailed for life.
James Carter, London, UK

If the prosecution's case didn't have so many holes in it, then maybe the sentence would have been higher. American meddling to push for a guilty verdict has had serious repercussions on the verdict. Remember, only one witness testified for the prosecution.
Anon, England

Two-and-a half years is about 912 days, therefore, are we saying that these people who conspired in this event should serve 4.5 days in jail for each person killed?
Blain, Worcester

Ridiculous. He abused his position as religious leader. He should be locked away for life.
Al, Coventry, UK

To see one man take the rap for the actions of those he is only indirectly responsible for, or not at all responsible for, maybe that is the way the court saw it? But if he was directly involved then it seems quite a light sentence.
Kashif Hussain, Bradford

There is absolutely no connection between Ba'asyir's sentence and justice. Complete disgrace of justice.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

This is a joke. The guy is guilty. He may not have pulled the trigger, but he does preach hatred and intolerance.
Avi Chopra, Ajax, ON, Canada

I wonder if the families of the dead and badly injured think that this is justice
Trudy Segal, Ascot, Berkshire
To my knowledge, most leaders don't actually get their hands dirty by physically carrying out any attacks, however does this mean that they are not guilty? I wonder if the families of the dead and badly injured think that this is justice, I would guess most definitely not.
Trudy Segal, Ascot, Berkshire

One year for each person killed in this atrocity. That would be a more fitting punishment. As usual the judiciary system lets us all down.
Suzanne Landau, London, UK

The Australian Government is the largest donor by far to the tsunami victims - $1bn. The clear intention of the government was to curry favour with our nearest neighbour, the world's largest Muslim nation. At the time, criticism of the decision was muted because of the obvious humanitarian considerations. Indonesia has shown, in no uncertain terms, what it thinks of Islamic militancy; in so doing, it has rebuffed Australia in a manner which is extremely painful - given the loss of life at Bali - but not at all unexpected. Should we have donated much more instead to countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and India? Given the likelihood of their gratitude, that is surely a rhetorical question. The lesson to be learned is that dollars on their own will not curry favour with a culture that is hostile to ours.
John McLeod, Brisbane, Australia

Extraordinary. Does Indonesia place so little value on human life that playing a key role in the deaths of over 200 people merits only a 30-month sentence?
Frank Cotteridge, UK

A 30-month sentence is a joke and what you would expect to get for car theft
Matt W, Trowbridge
I would not use the word disappointing; this is a complete miscarriage of justice. The massacre killed 202 people. A 30-month sentence is a joke and what you would expect to get for car theft, not a part on a mass murder.
Matt W, Trowbridge

This verdict is an absolute joke. Justice needs to be real and convincing and a real deterrent. This type of verdict sends the wrong message.
John, NJ, USA





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