Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir trial adjourned

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The terror trial of radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir in Indonesia has been adjourned.

This third trial of the aging cleric will resume on Monday, delayed by a technicality raised by the defence.

He is alleged to have helped set up and fund an Islamic militant training camp in Aceh, uncovered by police last year.

The 72-year-old has denied all links to any extremist activity - he maintains he is a spiritual, religious leader and that he has been unfairly accused.

About 3,000 police were deployed at the court to watch hundreds of Mr Ba'asyir's supporters.

A 93-page indictment has been prepared by a team of 32 prosecutors for the trial of a man first jailed by former strongman President Suharto, in the 1980s for his advocacy of an Islamic state.

Despite the low-key start, the trial marks a new phase in Indonesia's concerted efforts against Islamist terrorism, at a time of rising religious tensions.

On Sunday a mob was allowed to attack a community of followers of the Ahmadiyah Muslim sect, killing at least three people; a day later another mob stormed a courthouse and burned two churches.

'Engineered by America'

Mr Ba'asyir was arrested in West Java by anti-terror police last August, six months after the discovery by police of a militant camp in Aceh.

Police say that Mr Ba'asyir played an active role in setting up the camp, appointing key people and receiving reports from radicals in the field.

The charges against the 72-year-old include "mobilising people for acts of terror", which carries the death sentence.

Officials believe this group had plans to launch a brazen attack on Indonesia, similar to the type of assault seen in Mumbai, India, in November 2008, when Islamist militants killed 166 people.

Mr Ba'asyir denies having any links to the Aceh camp, and says the allegations against him have been "engineered by America".

This is the first time he has been linked to the planning or creation of a terror network. In the past he has been linked to extremism in a spiritual and moral capacity - charges he has consistently denied.

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

He was also 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 accused of giving spiritual leadership to JI, which has links to al-Qaeda - a claim he denies.

Mr Ba'asyir is the leader of the hardline Islamist group Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), which was created in 2008.

It was described in a report by the Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group (ICG) as an "above-ground organisation" that embraced individuals with known ties to fugitive radicals.

JAT has denied it has any connection to extremism and insists it is a legitimate Islamic organisation.