RealNews

Militant cleric sentenced in Indonesia

The alleged spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group was convicted Tuesday of sedition. The four-year sentence given Tuesday to Abu Bakar Bashir, the man Indonesia and the United States allege is the spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror group that in recent years has murdered more than 300 people in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, satisfied no one. The sentence didn’t satisfy Mr. Bashir’s supporters, who chanted “God is Great” outside the courthouse and claimed their leader had been framed by the CIA. And it didn’t satisfy the victims of JI violence, or the foreign governments who believe Bashir is at the center of a terrorist network that may number as many as 1,000. Indeed, what the muddled ruling may have best achieved is to illustrate how difficult it will be to fight the war on terror in the courts of the world’s most populous Muslim nation, which does not have a strong tradition of judicial independence or professional prosecutions. Indonesia’s Suharto dictatorship fell in 1998, and attempts at legal reform have been halting. Full Story

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