Tue, 08 Jul 2003

Prosecutors seek five years in jail for alleged terrorist accomplices

Fidelito Ahmad, The Jakarta Post, Lamongan, East Java

Government prosecutors demanded a five-year jail sentence for each of the four people who helped to conceal arms and ammunition belonging to Ali Imron, a key suspect in the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali blasts.

Prosecutor Johan Arifin said during a court session here on Monday that, based on the testimony of witnesses, the four accomplices had violated Article 9 of Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1/2002 on terrorism. The defendants had allegedly helped Imron to hide arms and ammunition at a forest area in Solokuro village, Lamongan, East Java, on Nov. 7, 2002.

"We request the honorable panel of judges sentence the defendants to five years in jail if they are found guilty of helping suspected terrorists," he said.

The four were named by Ali Imron and Amrozi alias Abdul Azis (alleged architects of the Bali bombing) in written testimonies to the court last week, as Qomar bin Thalib, Nurminda bin Thalib, Nurfitrotullah bin Maksudin and Sumarno.

Imron and Amrozi are also suspected to have provided the car to the defendants. The arms and ammunition were transported to the forest area packed inside six pipes.

Ali Imron and his two brothers Mukhlas and Ali Gufron supposedly hid at an Islamic boarding school in Lamongan after the Bali bombing.

The defendants' lawyer Fachmi A. Bachmid was disappointed with the prosecutors' demand because he maintained his clients were innocent.

He said state prosecutors had difficulty in presenting evidence against the defendants because records indicated that the ammunition had been ordered from the maker by the National Police Headquarters and the Indonesian Military Headquarters, but neither the military nor the police had reported it stolen.

"Before the arms and ammunitions were discovered, neither the military nor the police had announced any arms and ammunition losses," he said.

The session, attended by the defendants many relatives, was adjourned until next Monday when the defendants' legal defense will be heard.