Radical Lebanon cleric Bakri bailed from jail

24th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Radical Islamist preacher Omar Bakri, who was sentenced in Lebanon to life in prison on a number of charges, was freed on bail on Wednesday pending a retrial, a judicial source said.

"Bakri paid a bail of five million Lebanese pounds (3,330 dollars/2,500 euros) and was released from custody but must still turn up for every hearing of his retrial," the source told AFP.

Bakri, who has praised the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and hailed the hijackers as the "magnificent 19," had initially been tried in absentia by a military court and was sentenced on November 12.

He was subsequently arrested in his northern hometown of Tripoli.

Bakri must be retried because he was not present for the initial hearings.

The 50-year-old was found guilty of incitement to murder, theft and the possession of arms and explosives along with over 40 Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians and Saudis.

Lebanese police arrested Bakri on November 14, just three days after he boasted he would "not spend one day" of a life sentence behind bars.

Bakri, a Sunni Muslim, has appointed Hezbollah legislator Nawwar Sahili as his defence lawyer and appealed to the leader of Shiite militant Hezbollah for help.

"I urge Hassan Nasrallah to look at the injustice facing Omar Bakri who backs all resistance (movements) against Israel," arch-foe of Hezbollah, Bakri said in an interview with local television.

Bakri lived in Britain for almost 20 years before settling in Lebanon in 2005 after he was banned from London under government curbs following the underground and bus bombings that year.

The Syrian-born cleric, who also holds Lebanese nationality, has denied he has any links to Al-Qaeda although he said he believed in "the same ideology."

© 2010 AFP

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