Thu, 18 Sep 2003

Two terrorist accomplices get seven-year prison terms

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Denpasar District Court handed down two seven-year jail sentences to two men found guilty of assisting and harboring terrorists involved in the Oct. 12, 2002, deadly bomb attacks.

In the meantime, a prosecutor at a separate hearing in the city rejected the legal defense of another terrorist accomplice, Ali Imron, made in a previous hearing, saying the defendant should be given a 20-year prison sentence for his role in the bombings that killed 202 people and injured more than 320 others.

Judge Gede Demendra said Musyafak was guilty of lending his car to a man identified as Herlambang to transport another Bali bombing suspect, Hernianto, and his family to a hiding place in the Central Java town, Surakarta.

Herlambang and Hernianto have been on trial separately for assisting several main suspects.

Prosecutors have sought a 20-year jail sentence for Hernianto for his alleged role, which included hosting a meeting in Surakarta to plan the attack.

At the same hearing, Najib Nawawi was declared guilty of providing refuge to three bomb suspects on the run -- Hernianto, Abdul Ghoni and Mukhlas -- at his house in Karanganyar, Central Java.

The sentences imposed on the two men, charged under Article 13 of Law No. 15/2003 on terrorism, were three years lighter than those sought by prosecutors.

Upon hearing the court verdicts, both responded immediately that they would appeal to a higher court.

"Of course I will submit an appeal. It (the sentence) is unfair; I'm just a victim: How come I've got this (heavy) sentence?" Najib Nawawi asked.

Najib and Musyafak were two of nine terrorist accomplices to have been convicted, while 23 others are still on trial.

At another hearing, prosecutor IGP Sulaba rejected Imron's plea: He had admitted his involvement in the bloody incidents and apologized to the court, the victims and their families. What the defendant had said in his legal defense had merely proved the charges and confirmed the prosecution's case, Sulaba said.

"We demand that the panel of judges punish the defendant as we have requested in our recommendation letter," he told the court.

Imron's lawyer, Suyanto, said that he would not respond to the prosecutor's reaction to his client's legal defense, in order to allow the trial to proceed smoothly.

Prosecutors have sought a 20-year jail term for the defendant because Imron was straightforward in his testimony, had publicly admitted his guilt and had shown remorse in public for his wrongdoing.

Imron, however, denied that what has been identified as the Jamaah Islamiyah terrorist group was behind the bombing and other terrorist attacks in other parts of the country in the past.

He said he and other terrorist suspects had carried out the terror attacks to demonstrate Muslim people's strong disagreement with the U.S., which, he said, had mistreated the Palestinian people and attacked other Muslim countries.

Imron is among 34 people detained over the bombings, most of whom are already on trial as main suspects or accomplices.

He has admitted helping to assemble a van bomb that exploded outside a nightclub, causing most of the deaths.

He has also admitted planting another bomb outside the U.S. consular office -- which exploded harmlessly -- giving instructions to two suicide bombers and parking the van close to the club.

The court has already handed down a death sentence to Imron's older brother, Amrozi, and to bombing mastermind Imam Samudra. Prosecutors have also sought the death sentence for Imron's eldest brother, Ali Ghufron.