Indonesia high court overturns conviction of Muslim cleric Bashir

Indonesia high court overturns conviction of Muslim cleric Bashir

[JURIST] The Indonesian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir [BBC profile] Thursday, saying only that the decision was based on the testimony of some 30 witnesses. A written decision has not yet been released. Bashir was convicted on conspiracy charges [JURIST report] in early 2005 in connection to the 2002 Bali bombings [BBC backgrounder] but was released from prison [JURIST report] earlier this year after serving 26 months of his initial 30-month sentence. He received a reduction in sentence [JURIST report] in August 2005 as part of the celebration of Indonesia's Independence Day. It is Indonesian custom to reduce the sentences of inmates who exhibit good behavior on national holidays, with the exception of those serving life sentences.

Bashir is accused of being the spiritual leader of the Southeast Asian extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah [CFR backgrounder], which has ties to al Qaeda and has been blamed for the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings [BBC report]. AP has more.