INDONESIAN VP DEFENDS SENTENCE OF MUSLIM CLERIC

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 4) - Indonesian
Vice President Hamzah Haz says foreign critics have overreacted in the criticism
of the four-year sentence passed by a Jakarta court on Muslim cleric Abu Bakar
Bashir.

On Tuesday, judges imprisoned Bashir for four years rather than
the 15 years prosecutors had requested for taking part in a plot to overthrow
the government.

The court heard there was no proof that he heads the al-Qaeda-linked
Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group.

Haz said Canberra, and other foreign critics, had overreacted
and they should respect the existing law in Indonesia.

Prime Minister John Howard said Australia was
"disappointed" that the Muslim cleric did not get a longer sentence
and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he remained convinced Bashir was the
spiritual leader of JI.

September 4, 2003

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra 

 

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