[JURIST] An Indonesian court Tuesday dismissed a class action lawsuit that sought to dismantle the Indonesian police's anti-terror unit, ruling that the allegations that the department violated human rights by targeting Muslims and torturing suspects were too vague to proceed. The lawsuit was brought by Abu Bakar Bashir [BBC profile], a militant cleric who has been accused of being the spiritual leader of the Southeast Asian extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah [CFR backgrounder], which has ties to al Qaeda and has been blamed for the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings [BBC reports]. The court said that Bashir's lawsuit against the anti-terror unit, known as Department 88, did not meet the legal requirements to go forward.
Bashir has long been a controversial figure in southeast Asia. He was convicted on conspiracy charges [JURIST report] in early 2005 in connection to the 2002 Bali bombings [BBC backgrounder] but was released from prison [JURIST report] in 2006 after serving 26 months of his initial 30-month sentence. He received a reduction in sentence [JURIST report] in August 2005 as part of the celebration of Indonesia's Independence Day. It is Indonesian custom to reduce the sentences of inmates who exhibit good behavior on national holidays, with the exception of those serving life sentences. After his release, the Indonesian Supreme Court later overturned Bashir's conviction [JURIST report] in December 2006. AFP has more.