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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 19) - Indonesian prosecutors have asked for a nine year jail term for an Islamic teacher they say is the caretaker of Jemaah Islamiah, the most active terrorist group in Southeast Asia.

Authorities believe Abu Rusydan, a Central Java religious teacher, took over cleric Abu Bakar Bashir's role as JI leader six months before the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people.

Rusydan has been charged with hiding Mukhlas, who is alleged to have been the leading controller of the Bali blasts.

Authorities claim 43-year-old Rusydan became JI's caretaker after Bashir switched to leading the Indonesian Mujahidin Council, a legal hard line Islamic group advocating full implementation of sharia law in Indonesia.

Rusydan has denied he had anything to do with a terror organization.

Mukhlas is on death row for his involvement in the bombings.

January 20, 2004

Radio Australia:



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