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Bali Bombing Suspect Faces Counts of Terrorism Punishable by Death
Indonesian prosecutors on Monday indicted a key suspect in the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali bombings with several counts of terrorism punishable by death during the first court hearing against the case of the worst terrorist attack after the Sept. 11 strikes in the United States.

Amrozi, whose arrest became the first major breakthrough in the investigation of the blasts, was involved in a "sinister conspiracy" to carry out the bombings near the US consulate and at two nightclubs packed with foreign tourists on the resort island of Bali, prosecutors said.

The attack was designed to retaliate US military campaign on Afghanistan and "unfair treatment against Muslims" in the Philippines and Indonesia.

The Bali bombings, prosecutors said, have claimed the lives of innocent people, destroyed public infrastructure and created fear among the Indonesian citizens, primarily those of Bali. The cumulative charges carry a death penalty under the newly-approved anti-terror laws.

Appearing in gray Muslim dress, Amrozi looked calm when listening to the indictment in a makeshift courtroom in Denpasar, capital of Bali. Australian and British envoys were sitting in the front row.

Amrozi was arrested last November and has admitted to buying one ton of explosives and vehicle used in the bombings, which killed at least 202 people.

"I'm very glad to see that all our works already come true in the court," Bali police chief Mangku Pastika told a small group of reporters shortly after the trial began.

Pastika, who led the investigation team before securing his current post, warned that a lot of hard work still needs to be done, as at least six major perpetrators remained at large.

"They (the fugitives) get cleverer day by day. They can change their names frequently and obtain different identity cards, that's our problem," he said.

The government has said that the first Bali bombing trial was free from any external pressures including from Australia, whose citizens accounted for majority of the Bali toll.

"There is no pressure at all, I can assure you. The government will not intervene in the trial and we fully entrust the case to the court," Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra told reporters on the sidelines of the court hearing.

(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2003)

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