Radical Indonesian cleric arrested for terrorism (AP)

Aug 9th, 2010 | By worldnews | Category: World

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, once imprisoned for his links to the terror group behind the Bali bombings, was arrested Monday for alleged involvement with a new militant network.

His lawyer, Muhammad Ali, said the arrest took place early Monday in West Java’s Ciamis district.

Bashir, 72, is best known as the founder and spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked group responsible for the 2002 bombings on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, many of them Western tourists.

The fiery cleric spent several years in prison for his involvement with JI — blamed for at least three other deadly attacks in the world’s most populous Muslim nation — but was released in 2006.

He has always denied any link with terrorists.

Police arrested Bashir on Monday for alleged involvement with a new terror group discovered in westernmost Aceh province in February.

The cell was reportedly plotting a Mumbai-style attack on foreigners at luxury hotels in the capital, Jakarta, and several high-profile assassinations, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Dozens of suspects linked to the group have since been arrested or killed. Rumors have circulated for weeks that Bashir, known for propagating hatred against foreigners, was next on the list.

National police spokesman Col. Marwoto Suto confirmed Monday’s arrest, but said details would not be released until later in the day.

The preacher’s son, Abdul Rohim, insisted his father, who went to Ciamis for a preaching engagement, was innocent.

“He was heading back to Solo when police arrested him together with my mother,” he said. “We appeal police to treat my parents well. … He is innocent, he was just carrying out his obligations as a Muslim.”

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