Abubakar charged with treason

JAKARTA: Prosecutors yesterday accused Muslim cleric Abubakar Ba'asyir of plotting terror bombings in Indonesia and Singapore as part of a campaign to topple the Indonesian government and set up an Islamic state. 

An indictment filed in court describes the Muslim cleric as “emir” or leader of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) regional terror network which is blamed for a series of bombings or attempted bombings in the region. 

Abubakar was formally charged with treason. 

He is accused of conspiring to commit treason with Abdullah Sungkar, Hambali, Zulkarnaen, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas. 

Hambali, as the suspected former operations chief of JI, is Asia's most wanted man. Samudra and Mukhlas are awaiting trial for the Bali bombings last October which killed 202 people. 

The 25-page charge sheet does not accuse Abubakar, 64, of direct involvement in the Bali bombings. 

But it says he gave his blessing to the Christmas Eve bombings of churches and priests in 2000 which killed 19 people. 

Abubakar “also approved the planning to bomb American interests in Singapore known as Programme C,” it says.  

The charges, along with thousands of pages of evidence, were handed over in preparation for a trial.  

“The defendant is the leader and organiser of treason with the intention of topple the government and fulfilling his intention of setting up the Islamic State of Indonesia,” the charge reads. 

It says Abubakar and Abdullah, who has since died of natural causes, set up JI in the 1990s with Abdullah as leader and Abubakar as his deputy. 

The three immigration charges accuse Abubakar of making false documents to show he is a resident of the Java town of Ngruki, where he set up an Islamic boarding school. 

Abubakar is also accused of making a false affidavit about his whereabouts from 1985 to 1999.  

Abubakar fled to Malaysia in 1985 after serving a three-year jail term for subversion but never notified the Indonesian Embassy there of his presence, a necessary requirement if he wished to retain his Indonesian citizenship. 

He returned to Indonesia after the fall of Suharto in 1998. 

Abubakar, who was detained last October, was not present in court. He denies any links to terrorism but has described al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as “a true Muslim fighter.” – AFP  

  • Another perspective from The Jakarta Post, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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