Indonesian cleric Ba'asyir facing terrorism charges

image copyrightAFP
image captionAbu Bakar Ba'asyir has been in custody since his arrest in August

Police in Indonesia have charged radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir with inciting terrorism, a crime that carries the death penalty.

Mr Ba'asyir was arrested in August in a raid linked to the discovery of a militant training camp in Aceh.

Prosecutors said they hoped to go to trial "very quickly".

Mr Ba'asyir previously served 26 months in jail before being cleared of involvement with Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the group behind the 2002 Bali attacks.

The 71-year-old was imprisoned for conspiracy over the bombings, in which 202 people died. However, his conviction was overturned and he was released in 2006.

He has been described as the spiritual leader of JI, which has links to al-Qaeda - a claim he denies.

He is now the leader of the hardline Islamist group Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), which was created in 2008.

Multiple charges

Under Indonesian law, police pass a dossier containing the results of their investigation to prosecutors, who then decide whether to go to trial. The dossier had been returned to police once for further investigation.

Prosecutors said Abu Bakar Ba'asyir faced multiple charges under terrorism legislation.

"The harshest allegation is that he incited others to commit crimes of terrorism, which carries the death penalty," South Jakarta prosecutors' office chief Mohammed Yusuf said.

"We want to try him very quickly," he said.

The charges are linked to the discovery of a training camp in Aceh in February, where police said militants were planning Mumbai-style attacks on the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

A lawyer for Mr Ba'asyir said he denied the charges and blamed "foreign interference".

More on this story