Indonesia cuts jail sentence for militant cleric

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2011 7:50 AM
Indonesia cuts jail sentence for militant cleric

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian Islamist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, convicted of aiding a paramilitary group out to assassinate the president, has had his jail sentence cut from 15 years to nine, a court said on Wednesday, a decision which dismayed some security analysts.

The sentence was cut last Thursday.

"Very disappointing," Jakarta-based analyst Noor Huda Ismail told Reuters. "How can someone that condones violence be given a sentence reduction?"

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, has been the scene of some major attacks by militants and radical groups over the past decade, but there have been few attacks recently.

Bashir is considered the spiritual leader behind the group that killed more than 200 people in Bali in 2002.

He was found guilty of helping plan and fund a paramilitary training camp discovered last year in a remote mountainous part of Aceh, whose members sought to assassinate the president, destabilize Southeast Asia's largest economy and turn the officially pluralist country into an Islamic state.

Bashir, who was acquitted on a charge of possessing weapons, had denied involvement in the plan. He was jailed in June.

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Nick Macfie)