Thursday, September 14, 2006

Indonesian court to deliver verdict in 2005 Bali bombing case

Denpasar (ANTARA News) - An Indonesian court was due later Thursday to deliver its verdict in a case against a fourth man on trial over the 2005 triple suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali. Mobile telephone seller Anif Solchanudin, 24, is accused of being trained to take part as a suicide bomber in the attacks, although for unknown reasons he did not in the end participate, AFP reported. During his trial, Solchanudin admitted to the court that he had been interested in becoming a suicide bomber but denied any advance knowledge of the bombings. Prosecutors have sought a ten-year sentence for him. The attacks on three busy eateries on the mostly-Hindu island left 20 bystanders dead and dealt another blow to tourism just as it was beginning to recover after bombings three years earlier which left 202 people dead. Solchanudin's trial is taking place in Denpasar, Bali's main town. Three other men have already been sentenced for their roles in the meticulously planned attacks, thought to have been masterminded by Malaysian Islamic extremists Azahari Husin and Noordin Mohammad Top. Azahari and Top were key members of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network. Azahari was killed in a shoot out with police last November while Top remains on the run and is believed to have created a harder-line splinter group, though he retains links with the JI network. Mohammad Cholily, 28, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for providing materials for last year's attacks after learning his deadly craft from Azahari -- who was a master bombmaker -- and for also giving his teacher shelter. Dwi Widyarto, a 33-year-old telephone repairman, was handed eight years in jail for helping to transfer onto a compact disc a video recording showing Top threatening Western nations. A 30-year-old schoolteacher, Abdul Aziz, received eight years for creating a website for Noordin and Azahari. Noordin has eluded a massive manhunt in Indonesia, repeatedly giving police the slip. Analysts have said he is likely planning more attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Noordin M Top is reportedly in North Sulawesi trying to escape to the Philippines. I was stopped at a roadblock in Manado by police looking for Top. Azahari (Dr Bomb) was killed in Batu, East Java while hiding in a villa used as a safe house. For one month in Malang, we had roadblocks looking for Azahari and Top until finally one afternoon last November, Azahari was shot dead by police. One of his accomplices escaped past police.

Three convicted participants in the October 12, 2002 Bali bombings have yet to be executed. Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron, and Amrozi Nurhasyim all confessed to helping plan, fund and execute the horrendous attack on Paddy's and the Sari Club in Kuta, Bali that left 202 dead, countless others injured and traumatized. None of the three has expressed remorse for their actions.

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