Indonesian Islamist cleric jailed for 15 years

By REUTERS
June 16, 2011 11:04

 
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JAKARTA - Indonesian militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was jailed for 15 years on Thursday for helping plan a paramilitary group that aimed to kill the country's president, a sentence that could inflame hardcore Islamists who have vowed revenge.

Jailing Bashir is an important step in the government's efforts to weaken terror groups, but may not reduce the threat of attacks in a country with the world's largest Muslim community as others seek to push an Islamist agenda.

Bashir does not command widespread support in Indonesia, but the guilty verdict on charges of helping plan terror attacks could motivate groups which have already vowed reprisals after the US killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Underlining that risk, an anonymous text message circulating through the capital this week warned of 36 bombs exploding across the country the moment the judge in the south Jakarta court announced the verdict.

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