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Indonesian court sentences key militant

  • Story Highlights
  • Indonesian court sentences Abu Dujana to 15 years in prison
  • Dujana is the alleged leader of the military wing of Jemaah Islamiyah
  • Dujana is accused of direct involvement in the Bali nightclub bombings of 2002
  • After his arrest last June, Dujana admitted he was Jemaah Islamiyah's military chief
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- An Indonesian court has sentenced the alleged military commander of an al Qaeda-linked terror network to 15 years in prison.

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Abu Dujana is suspected of plotting attacks on the Australian Embassy and J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta.

Abu Dujana is the alleged leader of the military wing of Jemaah Islamiyah, a group that is thought to be linked to al Qaeda. It aims to create a Muslim "superstate" across much of Southeast Asia.

Dujana, a slight, wiry man, is accused of direct involvement in the Bali nightclub bombings of 2002 that killed more than 200, mostly Western, tourists. He is also suspected of plotting subsequent attacks on the Australian Embassy and J.W. Marriott hotel, both in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Furthermore, authorities say Dujana is behind the violence in Poso, on Indonesia's eastern Sulawesi island. Fighting between Muslims and Christians periodically breaks out in the region and sometimes turns deadly.

Police have accused Jemaah Islamiyah of sending armed militants to Poso.

The court found Dujana guilty Monday of illegally possessing firearms and explosives, and of harboring suspected terrorists. His lawyers said they may appeal the sentence.

After his arrest last June following a four-year hunt, Dujana admitted to CNN that he was Jemaah Islamiyah's military chief. But he said that happened only after the attacks on Western targets.

He described Jemaah Islamiyah to CNN as "an underground organization," saying "it will continue to exist and continue to move on with its plans" to create an Islamic state under Sharia law despite his capture.

"When a part of it is cut off ...there will be a replacement, it's only natural," he said.

Dujana denied being involved in the Marriott Hotel attack. He told CNN that he helped fugitive suspect Noordin Top plan the attack, meeting him both before and after the devastating blast that killed 12 people and injured 150.

"It's true, I did have a meeting with Noordin before the Marriott bombing but that doesn't mean I was involved in the attack," he said. "In that meeting, we're just aligning our views with each other -- there was absolutely no discussion about planning any bombing."

In his CNN interview, Dujana was quick with messages of hate, calling all Westerners legitimate targets because of the actions of leaders like U.S. President George W. Bush and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who he says are not giving Muslims the chance to be in power.

Dujana studied in Pakistan and fought in Afghanistan from 1988 to 1991.

He told CNN that he met al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during the fight against Soviet occupation. At the time, bin Laden was a field commander and he was an ordinary soldier, he said.

Dujana said bin Laden was well respected then and helped him and others realize that it was permissible to kill people to defend Islam.

"I didn't read it in the Quran," he said. " It's based on the teachings of our teachers, clerics, especially what Osama bin Laden first said."

"Because of America's arrogance, many in the Muslim world know, believe, it's permissible to kill American soldiers. It's halal; it's permitted," he said.

The court declared Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist organization Monday and ordered it to pay 10 million rupiah ($1,088).

Around the same time Dujana was captured last June, authorities also apprehended Jemaah Islamiyah's leader, known simply as Zarkasih. A verdict on his case is expected soon.

Last week, two other top Jemaah Islamiyah leaders -- Dr. Agus Purwanto and Abdur Rohim -- were brought to Indonesia following their arrest in Malaysia.

Both are being investigated for their possible role in fomenting violence in Poso.

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Terrorism expert Sidney Jones says Abdur Rohim is believed to have replaced Zarkasih as Jemaah Islamiyah leader.

"It is another major blow to Jemaah Islamiyah, but difficult to tell what the impact will be," Jones told CNN via e-mail last week. "It could embolden a more militant faction. [It] could also lead to some serious reassessment within the organization about its future." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Kathy Quiano contributed to this report.

All About Jemaah IslamiyaAl QaedaIndonesiaAbu Dujana

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