Bali trial looms for Abu Bakar Bashir

Oct 25-31


HARDLINE Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, 66, will stand trial from Thursday for the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali.

State prosecutors are accusing him of planning or inciting others to carry out the explosions that killed 202 people.

More than 30 people have been sentenced, and three key bombers, including Amrozi, have received the death penalty. Bashir, however, faces a lesser sentence of up to 20 years in jail as he is charged under the Criminal Code.


This is a victory for the prosecutors, who appeared initially to be losing the legal battle to convict the Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader. But radical Muslim groups could apply pressure.

Hardliners in the new government are calling for tougher laws to deter the likes of Bashir.

But some believe President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will tread carefully as rights groups could accuse the ex-general of Suharto-style repression.

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