Bali Bombing Conspirator's Sentence Upheld

Indonesia's (search) high court has upheld a 30-month prison sentence for accused terror chief Abu Bakar Bashir (search) for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings (search), a court official said Monday.

Lawyers for Bashir, who the United States and Australia allege is the spiritual head of the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (search) terror group, said they had yet to be informed of the decision but would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Bashir was convicted in March of conspiracy in the Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, but cleared him of more serious charges of planning the 2003 attack on the U.S.-owned J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 people.

Husein Kasing, a spokesman for Jakarta High Court, said judges there "had rejected the appeal" filed by Bashir but gave no details on the ruling. The court, which convenes behind closed doors, reached its verdict on May 11, but did not immediately publicize it, as is customary in Indonesia.

The 30-month sentence was decried by the governments of the United States and Australia, which were hoping for a longer punishment to deter terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The conspiracy conviction relates to allegations that Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, who was convicted with more than 30 other militants in the Bali bombings, visited Bashir three months before the attacks to ask for his blessing.

Amrozi did not testify during the trial and prosecutors based that part of their case on what police alleged he told them about the meeting. Bashir denied the exchange ever occurred.

Bashir, 66, is known for strong anti-Western and anti-Semitic views but has denied any involvement in terrorism.