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Indonesian cleric charged with treason

Indonesian police on Friday handed over militant Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Baasyir to the prosecutor’s office, charging him with treason and violations of immigration laws. Baasyir, believed to be the spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant terror group, was initially accused for his involvement in a string of church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000 that left at least 18 people dead. He also was suspected of taking part in a plot to assassinate President Megawati Sukarnoputri. “If found guilty of treason against the (Indonesian) government, he (Baasyir) could face a maximum sentence up to 20 years in prison,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Aritonang, the national police spokesman. Baasyir also was accused of immigration violations and falsifying documents, charges that could incur another five years in jail if convicted. Baasyir’s defense attorneys expressed surprise with the police’s move to reverse their charges against the Muslim cleric. Full Story

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