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Indonesia sentences preacher to 17 years on terrorism charges

(Xinhua)

15:19, March 29, 2012

JAKARTA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- An Indonesian court has sentenced the principal of an Islamic boarding school in West Nusa Tenggara province to 17 years in prison for his preaching on jihad that led to terrorism acts, local media reported Thursday.

The panel of judges at an district court on the outskirt of Jakarta said that Abrory bin Al Ayub, alias Maskadov, the princicple of Umar bin Khattab Islamic boarding school in Bima of the province had misled his pupils with his teachings and even had ordered one of them to kill a police officer during a raid on the school.

Abrory was also found guilty of assembling homemade bombs and ordering his pupils to arm themselves when police raided the school, the Jakarta Post reported. "The defendant's deeds caused many people to suffer from injuries and he tainted the good reputation of Indonesia which has promoted the eradication of terrorism," presiding judge Iman Gultom read in the verdict on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, the court did not find that Abrory had links to any terrorist cell in the country, although the National Antiterrorism Agency believed that Umar Patek, the country's most- wanted terrorist suspect, had had dealings with the Bima boarding school.

A bomb exploded at the school on July 11 last year, killing the school's treasurer. The police seized homemade bombs, along with weapons and VCDs with lessons about jihad in a follow-up raid.

Abrory's lawyer, Asruddin, regarded the punishment as too harsh.

Indonesia has successfully cracked down on terrorist activities in the wake of major terrorist bombings leaving more than 270 people dead, by killing and bringing terrorist top figures and their followers to justice.

But in recent years the militants movement have turned to small- scale acts and larger targets, such as government official and vital objects.

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