9 Aug 2010

Radical cleric Bashir detained by police

8:34 pm on 9 August 2010

Police in Indonesia have detained radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir on the island of Java over suspected links to Islamic militant training camps.

Mr Bashir is best known as the co-founder and spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, the terrorist group responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002.

The 71-year-old is now believed to be the leader of the hard-line Islamist group Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT).

The head of the government's anti-terror desk, Ansyaad Mbai, says police have strong evidence Mr Bashir is connected with JAT, which ran training camps in Indonesia's western-most Aceh province.

The training camp was uncovered by police in February this year.

Mr Mbai says the group had planned to assassinate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other state officials at an independence day ceremony on 17 August.

Mr Bashir served more than two years for conspiracy over the Bali bombings in which 202 people including two New Zealanders died. He was cleared and released in 2006.