Tue, 14 May 2002

Second terrorist gets death penalty for bombing

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

After imposing the death penalty on a Malaysian bomber last week, the Central Jakarta District Court gave another defendant a similar sentence for his role in the bombing of Atrium Senen shopping mall in Central Jakarta last year.

The court found Eddy Setiono, 41, guilty of assisting the main defendant, Taufik bin Abdullah Halim, in carrying out the bombing, which injured five people, including Taufik.

Taufik, who blew off his own leg during the incident, had earlier received the death penalty.

"The defendant was trying to stoke up religious conflict within the community, and the bombing spread fear here," presiding judge Sirande Palayukan said.

The judges, including panel members Panusunan Harahap and Sofian Sitompul, said there were no mitigating factors in the case.

"A sentence is meant not only to punish a defendant, but also to deter other members of the community from committing the crime," Sirande said.

Eddy was a member of a group that had planned to bomb the mall as there was a room there that was often used by Christians for worship, said the verdict.

Eddy, who became acquainted with Taufik in April last year through a friend, met Taufik at Soekarno-Hatta airport upon his arrival from Ambon, Maluku.

They soon became good friends and even shared a rented house on Jl. Malaka Raya, Central Jakarta, along with Asep, another member of the group,

The three, according to the verdict, often discussed the situation in Maluku, where religious conflict had been taking place since early in 1999.

On Aug. 1, 2001, Eddy drove Taufik, Asep, and other members of the group who are still at large, Agung, and Faisal, in a Suzuki Zebra to the mall early in the morning.

After the passengers had got out, Eddy parked the car at nearby Jl. Kwitang and waited for them.

Later in the evening, Taufik carried the TNT bomb and intended to leave it at one of the mall's entrances.

However, the bomb exploded too soon, blowing off Taufik's leg and injuring four other people at the mall.

Eddy left after Asep and Faisal arrived and asked him to go.

Judge Sirande said Eddy had known about the bombing plan but did not report it to the police.

Eddy looked upset with the verdict. He insisted that he knew nothing about the plan and stated that he would appeal to a higher court.

"I had no idea about the bombing. I was at home when it happened," he said.

Prosecutor Ikhwanul R. Saragih, who had earlier asked for a 20-year jail term, accepted the death sentence.

Muchtar Lutfi, one of Eddy's lawyers, claimed that the verdict was unfair.

"It's a kind of show trial to demonstrate to the world that Indonesia is earnestly trying to eradicate terrorism," he told reporters.