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Indonesian Supreme Court upholds Abu Bakar Bashir jail term

Indonesia’s highest court has upheld a 15-year jail term for radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, considered the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda-linked militants blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks throughout Indonesia.

Abu bakar bashir 2012 02 27Enlarge
Abu Bakar Bashir is the alleged founder and ideological leader of the military jihadi network Jemaah Islamiah, held responsible for killing 202 people in bombing attacks on the island of Bali in 2002. (Dimas Ardian/Getty Images)

Indonesia’s highest court has upheld a 15-year jail term for the radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, reversing an earlier decision to cut the sentence to nine years.

Considered the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda-linked militants blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, as well other attacks in the mainly Muslim nation, Bashir established an Islamist militant training camp in western Indonesia and was found guilty of inciting terrorism by a district court in June, the Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: Arrested cleric is accused of targeting Westerners

While outspoken in his advocacy of Al Qaeda-style jihad, Bashir has always denied terrorism. Last October the High Court reduced the 73-year-old’s sentence to nine years on appeal, citing lack of evidence and old age, Sky News reported.

Indonesia’s Supreme Court has now overturned that ruling, saying that Bashir had been proven “guilty officially and convincingly of committing terrorist acts.” Monday’s ruling is final.

Bashir is the alleged founder and ideological leader of the military jihadi network Jemaah Islamiah, held responsible for killing 202 people in bombing attacks on the island of Bali in 2002.

Most of the casualties were foreign tourists. However, Bashir was cleared of involvement with the group following a trial in 2003, the BBC reported.

Last week, a group founded by Bashir in 2008, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid, was officially labelled a foreign terrorist organization by the US.

The State Department has accused the group of masterminding a church bombing on the Indonesian island of Java last September, as well as carrying out deadly attacks on Indonesian policemen and robbing banks to raise cash for weapons and bomb materials. 

More from GlobalPost: Umar Patek, Bali bomb suspect, goes on trial in Indonesia 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/120227/indonesian-supreme-court-upholds-abu-bakar-bashir