Published December 20, 2010
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia's best-known radical cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir, has undergone cataract surgery as he awaits trial on terrorism charges.
Lawyer Achmad Michdan says the 72-year-old Bashir started complaining about deteriorating vision in his left eye soon after his arrest in August. He says Bashir, who has been jailed since his arrest, was taken under police escort Monday to a hospital in the capital, Jakarta, and had successful surgery.
Bashir — the spiritual head of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network — has been charged with helping set up a terror cell that was plotting high-profile assassinations and attacks on foreigners in Indonesia.
He could face the death penalty if convicted, though few analysts believe he'd get that.