Fri, 12 Sep 2003

Life sentence demanded for accomplice Mubarok

Wahyoe Boediwardhana and Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar/Makassar

Prosecutors have demanded self-confessed "small-fry" terrorist Ali Gufron, alias Mukhlas, be executed for his role in the Bali terror attacks.

However they only asked that co-accused Utomo Pamungkas, alias Mubarok, be jailed for life. Mubarok is alleged to have run guns to Muslims waging war against Christians in Ambon, bombed a church, and supplied the explosives used to bomb the home of the Philippines ambassador to Indonesia.

Meanwhile, prosecutors asked the Makassar District Court to sentence three men accused of last year's bombing of a MacDonald's fast-food outlet and a car showroom belonging to a senior government minister, to jail terms ranging from 10 years to 17 years.

Prosecutors told the Denpasar District Court that Mubarok had been proven guilty of helping plan the attack on the tourist island.

He is also charged with bombing a church in the East Java town of Mojokerto on Christmas eve in 2000.

Chief prosecutor I Nyoman Rudju told the court that Mubarok was also involved in illegal arms shipments to Ambon between 1999 and 2002, and supplying explosives used in the bombing that badly injured the Philippines' ambassador.

The prosecution said the accused had been proven to have violated antiterrorism laws, which carry the death penalty.

"But the defendant has been polite and quite honest during both the police's interrogation and the trial. We consider those as mitigating factors for the defendant," Rudju said.

In their 185-page sentence demand, the prosecutors described the Mubarok's role as facilitating the transfer of funds from bombing mastermind Abdul Aziz, alias Imam Samudra, to Amrozi.

Mubarok, the prosecutors said, received Rp 20 million from Samudra for the bombings. The money, generated from the robbery of a jewelry store in Serang, West Java on Sept. 18, 2002, was transferred to Mubarok's bank account.

Amrozi later withdrew the money and spent approximately Rp 15 million buying at least one ton of potassium chlorate, 40 kilograms of aluminum powder and 100 kilograms of sulfur, which was later used to assemble the powerful bombs that killed at least 202 people in that Oct. 12 terror attack.

The rest of the money was used to finance the suspects' trips to Bali and conduct several field surveys of their intended target.

Both Amrozi and Samudra have been sentenced to death, while verdicts against two dozen other suspects are expected in the coming months.

Mubarok responded to the sentence demand by acknowledging his wrongdoing and extending his apologies. He even stated that he would not produce any personal defense to the sentence demand.

"What kind of defense should I make. I will not (present my defense). I want to apologize to everybody, particularly to the victims and their families. Because of me everything has became like this," he said.

Separately, prosecutors in the trial of Mukhlas asked the court to consider the defendant's confession that he was a "small-fry terrorist" and committed the bombings in revenge for what he called the inhumanity committed by western countries against Middle Eastern countries.

The prosecutors rejected Mukhlas' denial that the blasts were not the work of his group, saying it was not supported by solid evidence.

In Makassar, prosecutors demanded 10-year, 15-year and 17-year jail terms for defendants Lukman bin Husain, alias Luke, Usman Nuraffan, alias Salman bin Daeng Naba, and Suryadi Mas'ud, alias Umar, alias Anthoni Salim, respectively.

The prosecutors alleged Suryadi had planned the attacks and assembled the bombs that killed three people and injured 15 others on the eve of Idul Fitri last year.

The prosecutors also said Usman helped Suryadi assemble the bombs, while Lukman was found guilty of assembling guns ordered by other defendants.

Chief prosecutor Amsir Huduri said the defendants planned the attacks to vent their anger at the government-brokered peace deal reached between warring groups in Poso, Central Sulawesi earlier in December 2002.

The government was represented by Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Jusuf Kalla, whose family owns the car showroom that was bombed.