Friday, November 10, 2006

Prosecution seeking 5 year jail term for Aussie embassy bombing accomplice

AN Indonesian prosecutor today sought a five-year jail sentence for a Muslim man accused of storing explosives used in the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta which killed 11 people.

Prosecutor Effendi told the state district court in Surabaya, East Java, that defendant Arif Hermansyah, 27, was guilty of assisting an act of terrorism, the state Antara news agency said.

"The defendant has been proven to have intentionally helped a crime of terrorism by hiding information on a terrorism crime," Effendi said.

He said that the defendant had failed to ask about a package that was left with him for safekeeping at his home in Surabaya in mid-2004 by another man, named Untung.

Untung is still on the run.

The package, which was later retrieved by Sonhadi, alias Muhajir, contained explosives that were later used in the embassy suicide van attack.

Sonhadi has been sentenced to four years in jail.

The judges adjourned the court until November 21 when the trial will hear the defence plea.

The embassy blast had been blamed on a group belonging to the Jemaah Islamyah (JI), which has been accused by the Government of being a regional terrorist network.

The leading planners in the bombings were said to be two Malaysians - Azahari Husin and Noordin Top.

Azahari was killed in a police raid in November while Noordin remains on the run.

Both men were avowed top members of the JI which has been blamed by authorities for a series of bombing attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and the Jakarta Marriott hotel blast in 2003 which killed 12.

Hermansyah, an employee of a private electricity contractor and also known as Banjar, became a JI branch member in 1997, prosecutors told the court.

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