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The Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post, 1/29/2003 1:44:22 PM

Ba'asyir involved in Bali bombings: Police

JAKARTA (JP): A Muslim cleric who is the suspectedspiritual leader of the Jamaah Islmiyah group, which allegedly link to al-Qaida, was involved in last year's bloody nightclub bombings in Bali, AP reported.

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir is already in detention over a series of separate church bombings in 2000, and investigators have been trying to link him to the Oct. 12 Bali blasts which killed at least 190 people, mostly foreign tourists.

"Indeed Abu Bakar Bashir was involved (in the Bali blasts)," said Sr. Comr. Zainuri Lubis, spokesman for the investigating team.

He said that Ba'asyir would likely be charged in the Bali bombings after his trial for his alleged involvement in the church bombings.

However, Zainuri said that Ba'asyir had yet to be officially named a suspect in the Bali case.

"He fulfills all the conditions for being a suspect," he said, without elaborating. "Several suspects already in custody have said he knew of the bombings."

A total of 29 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Bali bombings, including 19 who are considered directly involved.

Ba'asyir, a 64-year-old cleric who runs a religious boarding school on Java island, is scheduled to stand trial later this year over the church bombings. He has denied any involvement in terrorism.

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