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Indonesian imam sues police over arrest

A militant Muslim cleric and alleged spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, Abu Bakar Baasyir, filed a lawsuit Friday against Indonesia’s police chief demanding his release and $113 million compensation for time he spent in detention. In the lawsuit submitted to the South Jakarta District Court, Baasyir accused the Indonesian national police chief, Gen. Dai Bachtiar, of breaching the existing law by arresting him arbitrarily. “We filed a lawsuit against the Indonesian national police chief who have improperly applied the criminal code against Baasyir,” said Mahendradata, one of the Baasyir’s attorneys. Baasyir is currently being held at the national police headquarters in Jakarta while awaiting trial. Prosecutors have said Baasyir would be tried for treason, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment. “The police had arbitrarily arresting Baasyir. By the arrest, the police have robbed Baasyir’s freedom,” Mahendradata, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said, accusing the police had no “legal grounds” to detain the cleric since authorities had lacked strong preliminary evidence against him. Police have detained Baasyir since October of last year, just days after the deadly bombings of nightclub in Bali’s famous tourist spot on Oct. 12 that left at least 202 people dead, mostly foreign visitors. Indonesian investigators have connected Jemahh Islamiyah — a shadowy terrorist group operating in Southeast Asia and one those Western intelligence analysts say has firm links with al Qaida — with the incident. Baasyir has denied being its spiritual leader. Full Story

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