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Indonesia cleric sentenced to 15 years in prison on terror conviction

Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir [JURIST news archive] was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for his involvement with a terrorist training camp in the Indonesian province of Aceh to prepare Islamic radicals to carry out attacks in Jakarta. Prosecutors said Bashir provided more than $62,000 to the group [AFP report], which was allegedly planning attacks modeled after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks [JURIST news archive] and targeting high-profile members of the Indonesian government. Bashir was found guilty [AP report] of inciting terrorism in connection with the terrorist training camp. He was not convicted, however, of funding terrorist activities because there was not enough evidence to prove Bashir's money contributed to purchasing guns for use at the training camp. The 72-year-old said he would appeal the sentence because it ignores Sharia law [JURIST news archive].

Bashir's trial began in February [JURIST report] in the District Court of South Jakarta. He was suspected of links to al Qaeda [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) [CFR backgrounder], a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda that has been implicated in a number of attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing [JURIST news archive] that left more than 200 people dead. In 2006, the Indonesian Supreme Court overturned [JURIST report] Bashir's conviction on conspiracy charges connecting him with the bombings. He was released from prison [JURIST report] earlier in 2006 after spending 26 months in jail on different charges related to the bombings.

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