Indonesia sentences jihadist to 8 years

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2011 2:58 AM
Indonesia sentences jihadist to 8 years

An Indonesian militant was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for helping set up a terrorist cell plotting attacks on Western hotels and embassies in the capital.

Abu Tholut is among more than 120 alleged members of "Tanzim Al Qaeda in Aceh" captured or killed since authorities discovered their jihadi training camp in westernmost Aceh province early last year.

Judge Musa Arif Aini told the West Jakarta District Court the 50-year-old Islamic militant helped set up the camp and procure M16 assault rifles and other weapons for the group.

Tholut, also known as Mustofa, became one of Indonesia's most-wanted fugitives after Noordin Top and Dulmatin _ master bomb makers for the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network _ were killed in police raids last year.

He was convicted for involvement in a 2001 bomb blast at a shopping plaza in central Jakarta that wounded six. He served five years of an eight-year sentence and was released for good behavior.

Like dozens of other convicted Islamist extremists in the world's most populous Muslim nation he returned to his terrorist network after his release.

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Indonesia was thrust onto the front lines of the battle against terrorism in 2002, when Jemaah Islamiyah militants bombed two crowded nightclubs on the resort island of Bali, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

There have been several suicide bombings targeting Western hotels, restaurants and an embassy since then, but all have been far less deadly. The last occurred more than two years ago.