Indonesia cuts jailed Islamic cleric's sentence by 3 months

AP News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2016 10:45 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's government has reduced a radical Islamic cleric's prison sentence by three months as part of sentence reductions given to thousands of criminals on the country's Independence Day, an official said Wednesday.

Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group behind the 2002 Bali bombings, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2011 after being convicted of funding a terror training camp in Aceh.

Bashir, who turned 78 on Wednesday, is serving the sentence at Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, a West Java town near Jakarta. He was moved there in April from the maximum-security prison island of Nusakambangan because of health concerns.

Agus Toyib, head of correctional affairs at the West Java Justice and Human Rights Office, said Bashir deserved the reduction because he has served one-third of his sentence.

It was the second three-month reduction granted to Bashir.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected a request by Bashir for a judicial review of his conviction, saying he had not presented any new evidence.

Indonesia has a tradition of reducing the sentences of prisoners on national holidays for good behavior, judicial cooperation, or for serving one-third of their jail terms.

Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly said 82,015 of the country's 131,954 inmates had their sentences cut to mark Independence Day. They included 27 people convicted of terrorism, 12,161 drug convicts and 428 people found guilty of corruption, Laoly said.