has defended a 30-month jail term for a radical cleric linked to the
Bali bombings, after the US and Australia said it was too
Indonesia said its sentence against Ba'asyir
should be respected
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was found guilty on Thursday of conspiracy
over the 2002 attacks, in which 202 people died.
But he was cleared of more serious anti-terrorism charges
relating to an attack on Jakarta's Marriott hotel.
The US and Australia, which lost scores of citizens in Bali, said
Ba'asyir's crime merited a longer jail sentence.
An Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman hit back at the
criticism, saying the independence of the judiciary should be
Marty Natelagawa also defended his country's record in
prosecuting the "war on terror", citing the 30-odd militants
sentenced so far for the Bali bombings.
He said it was understandable that some countries, especially
Australia, wanted to see justice done but they should "maintain a
sense of perspective of how other terrorist cases elsewhere in the
world are handled".
"I know of many far more high-profile cases where the
perpetrators are still at large, or if they have been caught remain
incarcerated without any proper trial," Mr Natelagawa said.
He also said Washington's refusal to hand over a top Indonesian
militant suspect, Hambali, may have prevented prosecutors from
making a stronger case against Ba'asyir.
"It's a nagging question, what difference it could have made," he
At the end of the court case, a statement read out by the five
judges said Ba'asyir had not been directly involved in carrying out
the Bali blasts, but had given his approval for the attacks.
Australia, which lost 88 citizens in the Bali attacks, was swift
to comment on the relatively lenient sentence.
The cleric's supporters say he is being
persecuted to please the US
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told the BBC: "I have
instructed our embassy in Jakarta to raise the whole question of the
short sentence with the Indonesian authorities and to say that from
our perspective, we would like to see a longer sentence,
particularly bearing in mind that so many Australians were killed in
A spokesman for the US embassy in Jakarta, Max Kwak, agreed with
"We respect the independence and judgement of the Indonesian
courts," he said. "But given the gravity of the charges on which he
was convicted, we are disappointed at the length of the sentence."
In contrast, many of Ba'asyir's supporters were outraged that he
had been convicted at all.
Many in the courtroom raised their fists, shouting "Allahu Akbar"
("God is greatest") when the sentence was handed out.
"Smash America and its lackeys," one supporter said.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta says it was always going to be
a difficult and complex case for the prosecution to prove.
Their case was undermined when witnesses gave contradictory
testimony, and a former US state department interpreter gave
evidence that appeared to back up the defence's claims that the
trial was a result of US pressure.
The cleric was convicted over the Bali bombings under ordinary
criminal legislation, rather than the harsher anti-terror laws,
which were only brought in after the 2002 attacks.
Police rearrested him in April 2004 after he completed a jail
sentence for immigration violations, citing new evidence linking him
The US has alleged JI has ties to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda