Indonesia says an alleged al-Qaeda operative may have helped the prosecution's case against the cleric The United States has claimed it wants to help Indonesia fight a war on terror, but it has been less than helpful in providing access to Omar Al Faruq. He is a key witness who might have had the most damning testimony against radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, say government officials. It was Bashir's lawyers, suspecting Faruq's evidence would help Bashir, who called for the extradition of Faruq, a request refused by the US embassy. However, despite the request coming from the defence team, the Department of Foreign Affairs believes that Faruq would have helped the case against the cleric. They say the central Jakarta court could have mounted a stronger case linking Bashir to the terror group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and its bombing campaign. Faruq is a Kuwaiti who allegedly told US interrogators that the cleric, as leader of JI, approved bombing attacks in the region. A Time magazine article last September said Faruq was picked up in Indonesia and flown to Bagram air base in Afghanistan. It said Bashir offered to provide JI operatives to help Faruq launch a bombing campaign on US embassies in Asia to commemorate the September 11 attacks. According to the Time article, Faruq, who claimed to be al-Qaeda's senior operative in Southeast Asia, said that the cleric was also behind the 1999 bombing of Jakarta's largest mosque. But on Tuesday, with only one witness - a JI leader detained in Singapore testifying via video link-up that Bashir led JI - the judges acquitted the cleric of terrorism charges. He was found guilty of a lesser charge of involvement in a treason plot. JI has been blamed for the Bali bombings last October 12 that killed 202 people, the JW Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta in which 12 people died, as well as a series of bombings in 2000. Lawyers for Bashir say the US embassy refused to hand Faruq over for the trial. 'The judges showed me the reply letter which came from the US embassy and it said that the US cannot allow anybody under US detention to testify in other places,' said Mahendradatta, one of Bashir's lawyers. An Indonesian police team was allowed to visit Faruq in Afghanistan but was able to only submit written questions to Faruq, admitted the Indonesian police chief General Da'i Bachtiar. But this statement was not sufficient to use as evidence in Indonesian courts, Mr Mahendradatta said. The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was disappointed that the US did not make Faruq available to give testimony in court. 'With the benefit of hindsight, we would have been happier if we were able to obtain information from Omar Al Faruq in a more direct manner,' said Marty Natalegawa, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr Marty said he hoped that the Bashir verdict would prompt the US to provide access to other key figures, such as alleged JI operational chief Hambali. Bashir's lawyers say the US refusal to make Faruq available casts doubts on the CIA claims that Bashir leads the Jemaah Islamiah network.