Sun, 24 Nov 2002

Commission I and II support Bali bombing probe

Muhammad Nafik, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

The House of Representatives decided on Saturday to throw their support behind the police investigation team of the Bali bombing and urged people to refrain from criticizing the multinational team.

The support was given after 17 members of House Commissions I and II met bombing suspect Amrozi face-to-face for 10 minutes at the Bali police headquarters in Denpasar.

Taking place in a room with windows allowing journalists to look on, it was Amrozi's second public appearance since his capture on Nov. 5 in his home town of Lamongan, East Java.

His first public show was held on Nov. 13 with National Police chief Gen. Da'I Bachtiar, which sparked outrage and condemnation from Tasmania to Alaska.

Similar to his spectacle, Amrozi, wearing a blue detainee T- shirt with his hands handcuffed smiled and appeared relaxed. He was able to answer questions smoothly posed by the legislators.

Reading from a written statement after the encounter with Amrozi, Ishak Latuconsina, coordinator of the visiting legislators told a news conference that Commissions I and II give political support to the National Police "in order that our national agenda of fighting terrorism can be carried out effectively."

He urged all community members to refrain from unwarranted criticism and malicious gossip in relation to the progress of the investigation if they could not accept that the evidence that was credible.

"If there is doubt, we hope they will check it first with the National Police before publicly making comments," added Latuconsina, a member of the Indonesian Military and National Police faction in the House.

The 17 legislators, Yasril Ananta Baharuddin of Golkar Party, Tjahyo Kumolo from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), were briefed for more than three hours by chief investigator Insp. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika and Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Budi Setyawan before the news conference and their meeting with Amrozi.

With packages of gifts including bed covers carried in a minibus, the House members later left the Bali police headquarters aboard a separate bus for the bomb site in Legian, Kuta, where they stayed for 30 minutes.

Analysts have criticized the police for lacking transparency in handling the Bali debacle as they have only focused on tracking down the suspects currently still at large while ignoring other avenues and at the same time continuing to issue conflicting statements to the public.

Others have said the investigators must also concentrate on identifying the device used in the large blast and the high explosives such as RDX and TNT that could have been used to make the huge bomb that killed over 190 people and injured some 300 others, mostly foreigners, in addition to finding the possible masterminds outside of Amrozi's group of accomplices.

The House also welcomed the police success in hunting down Amrozi and Imam Samudra, the alleged mastermind of the devastating Bali attack in what it called a relatively short time.

Samudra was captured without resistance on Thursday aboard a public bus bound for Pekanbaru, Riau from his home town of Serang, Banten. His arrest came less than one month after Amrozi's.