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U.S. Pressure to Hold Militant Sets Off Outcry in Indonesia

An effort by the Bush administration to ensure that Abu Bakar Bashir, the leader of the militant Islamic organization Jemaah Islamiyah, remains in jail and is fully prosecuted on terrorism charges has set off a diplomatic and political tempest here.In the middle of an intense political campaign, Islamists and nationalists are denouncing what they see as undue interference in Indonesia’s internal affairs, and presidential candidates are expected to join in condemning the American pressure. A lawyer for Mr. Bashir said in a brief telephone interview on Monday that he thought his client would not be released because of the pressure from the United States. Indonesian officials also indicated that they would continue to detain Mr. Bashir and would probably charge him again. They said their thinking was based on new evidence linking him to the bombing of nightclubs in Bali in October 2002, not because of pressure from the United States and Australia, which has made the same case against Mr. Bashir, the officials said.Full Story

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