Terrorism trial postponed for Bali bomb ‘mastermind’

JAKARTA – The terror trial of radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been adjourned until next week, after a brief – but chaotic – appearance yesterday.

The trial will resume on Monday, when Bashir will again face court on seven terrorism charges, the most serious of which carries the death penalty.

The delay was granted because the defence was not given enough notice of the hearing.

The 72-year-old bespectacled cleric is accused of seven counts of terrorism related to a paramilitary training camp that was discovered last February in Aceh province.

The most serious charge, one count of planning and/or inciting a terrorist act, could see him face the death penalty.

He was also charged with trafficking in weapons and explosives for the purpose of conducting terrorism, which also carries the death penalty, as well as supplying funds for terrorism, which carries a jail term of between three and 15 years.

Security was heavy with hundreds of police at the South Jakarta district court precinct where the trial will take place.

As the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings was driven away under heavy security, supporters continued to chant “god is great, god is great”. Bashir was arrested last August after the discovery of a new terrorist cell training at a secret camp on Sumatra.

He is suspected of being a key organiser of the new network, that he “blessed and funded” the training camp and was aiming to make Indonesia an Islamic state.

Prosecutors will also allege that the terrorist network was planning to assassinate Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as attack foreign interests, specifically US and Jewish citizens.

Bashir served almost 26 months for conspiracy over the 2002 bombings in Bali which killed 202 people, but was later acquitted.

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