Indonesian Cleric Accuses US as Terrorism Trial Winds Down

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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Radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir issued a final statement at his Indonesian terrorism trial Monday, once more charging that the case against him was orchestrated by the United States and Australia.

The cleric, who faces a possible life sentence, charged that the foreign powers were working through “devils” in Indonesia to carry out a crusade against devout Muslims.

A final verdict is expected later this month in the long-running trial. Bashir is accused of funding and helping to organize a terrorist training camp that was discovered last year in northwestern Aceh province.

Bashir made similar claims of foreign influence in his formal defense statement two weeks ago. At that time he admitted raising money but said it was for legitimate purposes, not to fund terrorist activities.

Bashir is considered to have been the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, which is blamed for a series of terrorist attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

The preacher spent more than two years in prison on charges related to the Bali attacks before his conviction was overturned.