The defendant gets to walk out in protest? What kind of a trial is this? Abu Bakar Bashir (Baasyir) update, from “Baasyir Walks Out of Terror Trial,” from Laksamana.Net, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
Laksamana.Net – Radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Baasyir walked out of his terrorism trial in Jakarta on Thursday (27/1/05) to protest the reading of witness interrogation records identifying him as the leader of regional terrorism network Jemaah Islamiyah.
Baasyir is charged with inciting his followers to carry out the October 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people and the August 2003 blast that killed 12 people at Jakarta’s JW Marriott Hotel.
Prosecutors also say he visited a Jemaah Islamiyah military training camp in the southern Philippines in April 2000 and passed on an edict from Osama bin Laden calling for killings of Americans and their allies. The cleric could face the death penalty if found guilty of terrorism.
Proceedings at Thursday”s trial session started smoothly, but Baasyir’s lawyers immediately protested when the prosecution tried to read out the interrogation records of terror suspects being detained in Singapore and Malaysia.
“In accordance with the prevailing regulations, the witnesses from Singapore cannot leave the country because they are still being detained. We request the permission of the panel of judges to read out the witnesses’ interrogation records,” chief prosecutor Salman Maryadi was quoted as saying by detikcom online news portal.
Baasyir’s lawyers vehemently opposed the request, insisting that Indonesian regulations require witnesses to be present when their interrogation records are read out in court.
“If the witness is not put forward before the court and only his police interrogation record is read out, then how can we lawyers conduct a cross examination of the testimony?” asked chief defense lawyer Mohammad Assegaf.
The prosecution and the defense then bickered over the matter for about 10 minutes. Presiding judge Sudarto thereafter ruled that the interrogation records could be read out without the presence of the witnesses, as they could not be brought to the court because they were being detained abroad.
“This obstacle is a valid obstacle that prevents these witnesses from appearing before the court,” said the judge.
Assegaf was not impressed by the decision. “We have decided to leave the trial because do not want to share responsibility for the reading of these interrogation records. So we, the team of lawyers, will stage a walkout”¦ With all due respect to this court, we are withdrawing ourselves from this trial,” he said.
Not wanting to be left behind, Baasyir requested permission to join his lawyers. “The head of my defense team has left the court and because I must be accompanied by my lawyers during my trial, I therefore request permission to also go out,” he said.
“All right, I give my permission,” replied Sudarto. Baasyir and his 10-member defense team then got up and left the courtroom.
The defendant and his lawyers sat in a nearby room while the trial continued.