Indonesia: March 3, 2005


Senior Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was convicted of leading the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist network, and presiding over the 2002 Bali bombing. But the court only gave him 30 months in jail. The government admits that radical Islamic clerics are preaching in favor of violence, but is reluctant to lean on these religious figures too hard. Sort of local custom, as powerful men who are overthrown are treated gently. The idea is to avoid stirring up the big guys followers, to avoid a bloody civil war. To outsiders, it appears that guilty people, if powerful and prominent enough, can get away with murder. Lesser members of Jemaah Islamiah have been found guilty of the Bali bombing, and given severe punishments (long prison sentences or death sentences.)


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