27 Oct 2011

Prison sentence for Bashir reduced

6:00 pm on 27 October 2011

Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has had his prison sentence for aiding a paramilitary group cut from 15 years to nine.

Bashir, 73, is considered the spiritual leader behind the group that killed 202 people in bomb attacks in Bali in 2002.

He was jailed in June after being found guilty of helping plan and fund a paramilitary training camp discovered last year in Aceh, whose members wanted to assassinate the president and turn the country into an Islamic state.

Bashir, who was acquitted on a charge of possessing weapons, had denied involvement in the plan.

Lawyer Mohammad Assegaf says he is confident his client will eventually be released from prison.

We're very optimistic that the Supreme Court will find him not guilty from all terrorism charges, he says.It has happened before.

Bashir previously spent 26 months in prison over his involvement in the Bali bombings but was cleared of involvement with the Jemaah Islamiah group after a trial in 2003.