Tue, 26 Aug 2003

Ba'asyir sentence demand stands

JAKARTA: Prosecutors reiterated their demand on Monday that the Central Jakarta District Court sentence Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir to 15 years in jail.

Chief prosecutor Hasan Madani told the court evidence was solid to prove the defendant's guilt in subversion and violating immigration law, such that he deserved to remain in jail for 15 years.

Ba'asyir, who chairs the hard-line Muslim group Mujahidin Indonesia Council (MMI), had denied accusations of plotting to assassinate then vice president Megawati Soekarnoputri in 1999, which the prosecutors said was aimed at toppling the legitimate government. He is also charged with manipulating counterfeiting? a passport while in exile in Malaysia.

Presiding judge Mohammad Sholeh adjourned the trial until Wednesday. The judges are expected to announce the verdict next month. -- JP

;JP;IWA; ANPAa..r.. Scene-migrants KL told to reject Acehnese JP/4/scene

KL told to reject asylum seekers

JAKARTA: Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on the Malaysian government on Monday not to grant asylum too readily to Aceh people.

"Malaysia is our good neighbor that supports our national integrity and does not recognize the separatist movement in Aceh. It would be better if both countries could communicate over the recent problem," Susilo said after a Cabinet meeting.

He was responding to the case of 232 Acehnese people arrested by Malaysian authorities when they rallied in front of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur to seek asylum last week. Some of them have agreed to go home.

Susilo said the issue would be raised by President Megawati Soekarnoputri during her meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad this weekend on her visit to Kuala Lumpur. --JP