Indonesian cleric's terror trial adjourned



-- Indonesia's latest attempt to charge a fiery Islamic cleric on terrorism charges was swiftly adjourned moments after it started in a south Jakarta court Thursday.

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir could face the death penalty under fresh charges, which include planning and/or inciting a terrorist act and involvement in a paramilitary training camp discovered last February in Aceh province.

However, proceedings were postponed to Monday after his lawyer argued that they were not given enough time to respond to the court summons.

The 72-year-old waved and smiled to hundreds of his supporters, who chanted "God is great."

Ba'asyir was first detained in August for suspected links to a militant training camp raided by authorities in Aceh in early 2010.

Police said the suspect and his organization, the Jamaat Tawhid Anshoru or JAT, were involved in setting up the camp.

The militants were preparing to launch attacks similar to the one in Mumbai 2008, and assassination attempts on Indonesian government officials, authorities have said.

But the lawyers have called the case weak and a fabrication.

This was going to be his third trial. In the first two, prosecutors tried to link the elderly cleric to the 2002 bombings in Bali and the 2003 hotel bomb attack in Jakarta.

The courts found him guilty of minor charges, and sentenced him to 25 months. He was released in June 2006.

"This trial is very significant, because if the Indonesian government failed to provide a strong unshakable court evidence, they will use this as a weapon, an ammunition to gain more recruits," said Noor Huda, founder of Jakarta's Institute of International Peace Building, which aims to reform radical inmates.

"Ba'asyir is clearly a symbol, he gains certain level of celebrity among jihadist, he's very strong, he has a strong charisma to build networks."

Ba'asyir is known for his fiery rhetoric.

He was accused of being the spiritual leader of Indonesia's homegrown terror network, Jemaah Islamiyah, which inspired many of those involved in the bombings

He has denied all the allegations and often blamed a U.S.-led conspiracy to put him behind bars.