Jakarta-An Indonesian court on March 3 sentenced alleged terror leader Abu Bakar Bashir to 30 months in prison for a “sinister conspiracy” that led to the 2002Balibombings which killed 202 people. Both theUnited Statesand Australian governments described the sentence as “too light”.
In its ruling, the court cleared Bashir ofthree more serious charges, including ordering the attack. He was also found not guilty of planning the 2003 suicide bombing of the J.W. Marriott hotel which killed 12 people, and of inciting his followers to launch deadly attacks.
After the panel of judges had announced their verdict, Bashir said he rejected the sentence because accepting it would be "haram" (not allowed according to Islamic shariah).
Most analysts had predicted that Bashir would either walk free or receive a prison term far short of the maximum allowed - partly due to the weak case put forward by prosecutors.
AFP quoted aUSembassy spokesmanas saying that though they "respect the independence ofIndonesia's judiciary", the sentence meted out did not match the "gravity of the charges on which he was convicted".
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said "we would hope that the prosecution might consider appealing against the sentence".
* Court sentences Bashir to 2.5 years in jail (Antara, March 3)