Wed, 21 May 2003

Bomb suspects' testimony requested

DENPASAR, Bali: A lawyer defending Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir said on Tuesday prosecutors would bring one defendant and four suspects in the Bali bombing case to Jakarta to testify against his client, who is standing trial for treason.

Mohammad Mahendradatta, the coordinator of the Muslim Lawyers Team (TPM), said the intention to bring the Bali bombing defendant and suspects to Jakarta had been explicitly stated by Hasan Madani, the chief prosecutor in Ba'asyir's case.

Amrozi and his brothers Ali Gufron and Ali Imron, Hutomo Pamungkas, alias Mubarok, and the alleged mastermind of the bombings, Imam Samudra, were expected to be transported to Jakarta sometime next week to appear at Ba'asyir's hearing on May 29.

"For a long time, we assumed that the prosecutors were trying to implicate our client with the bombings in Bali. The facts the Bali bombing suspects and defendant will present to the trial will prove that our assumption is not groundless," Mahendradatta said.

Spokesman for the Bali Prosecutor's Office Muhammad Salim said he had no information on the plan to take Amrozi and his colleagues to Jakarta.

"If the information is accurate, then we would have to discuss it first with the presiding judges on the bombing, since Amrozi is currently under the custody of the Denpasar District Court," he said. -- JP