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Abu Bakar Bashir Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison

Jakarta Court Send Aging Cleric to Prison for Committing Conspiracy Against the State.

(3/6/2005) 66-year-old Abu Bakar Bashir was given a sentence of 30 months jail time by a South Jakarta court on Thursday, March 3, 2005, for his role in the tragic Bali bombing of October 2002 that claimed 202 lives.

The judges, handing down a sentence less than the 8 years requested by State Prosecutors, found Bashir guilty of partaking in an "evil conspiracy against the state."

The Yemini-born Indonesian cleric is widely-reported to be the leader of Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia, an organization with links to the al-Qaeda Network of terrorists. Bashir has steadfastly denied any links to the leadership of either organization. He was re-arrested last year as he left prison following his punishment for the violation of immigration regulations.

Both Bashir's legal team and Bashir himself insist they will appeal the verdict. However, the time required for such an appeal and the period that will be cut from his sentence for "time served" from the time of his arrest to conviction, virtually assure that the Cleric will be released from prison before any appeal process can run its course.

Bashir could be a free man again as soon as late 2006 or early 2007.