Thu, 18 Sep 2003

Alleged serial bomber may face life sentence

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Prosecutors demanded on Wednesday a life sentence for Abdul Jabar, the alleged bomber of the residence of the Philippines ambassador in 2001 and two churches in Jakarta in 2000.

Prosecutor Payaman told the Central Jakarta District Court that the prosecutors had proven the charges on illegal explosive possession stipulated in the 1951 Emergency Law and involvement in continual bomb attacks.

"We request the court to find the defendant guilty and sentence him to life in prison ... The bombing was inhumane and claimed two lives," he told the court presided by Pramodana K. Kusumah.

The prosecutors said they could see no reason to lighten the sentence demand and added that the bombing had caused fear in the wider community and had the potential to disrupt the nation's economy.

Jabar took the sentence demand calmly, telling the court: "I'm not well-versed in matters of law, but several things conveyed by the prosecutors are just not true".

Jabar, 33, is the son of the late Ahmad Kandai, who had a role in an assassination attempt on founding President Sukarno during his visit to the Cikini Education Institute in Central Jakarta on Nov. 30, 1957. The attempt, using a hand-grenade, failed.

Jabar's two other brothers, Farihin and Mohammad Islam, are being held for alleged involvement in bombings in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Along with Dedy Setiono and Fatur Rohman Al-Ghozi, who was convicted in the Phillipines on terror charges but recently escaped from jail and remains on the lam, Jabar admitted that they were in on the plot to plant a car bomb outside the residence of the Philippines ambassador in Central Jakarta on Aug. 1, 2001.

He was assigned to watch the residence and to signal Al-Ghozi who was holding the remote detonator.

Dedy is facing the death sentence for his involvement in several bombings in Jakarta while Al-Ghozi remains a fugitive.

The Aug. 1 blast killed security guard Sofyan Hendrawan, housemaid Suhantin, and injured 21 others, including Ambassador Leonides T. Caday.

Jabar was also involved in planting bombs at the Koinonia Church in East Jakarta and the Anglican church in Central Jakarta on Dec. 24. Four people were killed in the Koinonia church explosion.

Lawyer Bambang Tri Haryanto said that the defense would use the fact that Jabar had surrendered to police in West Nusa Tenggara two years after being declared a fugitive. The next hearing is set for Sept. 27.