Jailed Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been named as the leader of al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group and encouraged militants to launch 2002 Bali bombings, and a suicide attack last year on an Indonesian hotel, according to court documents. \nYesterday, lawyers for Bashir said this attempt -- as with previous ones -- would fail to find him guilty of being the inspirational head of Southeast Asia's biggest terror group blamed for a string of attacks in Indonesia beginning in 1999 that have killed 224 people and wounded hundreds more. \nPlanning meetings \nProsecutors filed charges Friday at the South Jakarta District Court alleging that Bashir and other men held meetings in Thailand and in Indonesia's Central Java province to plan the Bali bombings, which killed 202 people. \nThe main charge accuses Bashir of ordering a deadly suicide bombing at the J.W. Marriott hotel last year that killed 12 people. \nA copy of the indictment obtained by reporters named Bashir as "as amir or leader of a group" of Jemaah Islamiyah, "responsible for swearing in members, giving sanctions to members who violates the group's rules and authorizing the group's decisions." \n"The evidence and testimony against him are weak so the charges won't stick," said Bashir's lawyer, Wirawan Adnan. "But, there is such strong political will to see him jailed." \nBashir was the guest of honor at an April 2000 military training in the Philippines and ordered his men to deliver a fatwa or religious edict from Osama Bin Laden, whom Bashir met in Afghanistan, to "allow war and the killing of Americans and their allies," the indictment said. \nProsecutors said this speech encouraged his disciples to plan the Marriott and Bali attacks. \nIn August 2002 in East Java, several Bali bombers allegedly met Bashir asking his blessings "to hold an event in Bali." Bashir replied: "It is up to you because you know the situation on the field," the indictment said. \nBashir is charged under the criminal code over the Bali attacks, and faces a life sentence if found guilty. He is charged under a tough anti-terror law passed after the Bali blasts in connection with the Marriott blast, and faces a maximum penalty of death. \nAnti-terror law \nProsecutors had wanted to charge Bashir over the Bali attacks using the anti-terror law -- which requires less burden of proof -- but were forced drop the plans after the country's top court ruled earlier this year that retroactively applying the law was unconstitutional. \nThe Bali and Marriott blasts have both been blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah. \nBashir was cleared of terror charges last year, but was convicted of immigration violations. He was re-arrested in April after completing his sentence. \nThe US and Australia have campaigned to keep Bashir imprisoned, accusing him of heading Jemaah Islamiyah and orchestrating terror attacks. Prosecutors have not said whether they will formally charge him with leading the group. \nBashir has denied any involvement in terrorism. Under Indonesian law, his trial must begin within two weeks after formal charges are announced.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We