Aug 17th, 2006, in News, by

A number of convicts serving terrorist related crimes received remissions on their sentences, as a way of marking Indonesian independence day on 17th August.

The thirty-three men serving sentences for involvement in the 2002 bombings in Bali can be divided into four groups: the Serang group, the Solo group, the “local boys”, and the East Kalimantan group. Of the latter group three men serving time in a Balikpapan prison received reductions of four months on their sentences, allowing one of them, Puryanto, to walk free.

Nine others, out of a total of thirteen serving time in the main prison on Bali island, also received sentence reductions of one to six months.

Those benefitting from the remissions had relatively minor roles in the suicide bombings, ranging from carrying out robberies to finance the attacks to helping hide the main actors.

Three other terrorists, Amrozi, Ali Gufron, and Imam Samudra, are scheduled to be executed later this month while a further four men are serving life terms. None of these was eligible for remissions.

It is an Indonesian tradition to reduce jail terms on the national day, but the decision is likely to anger countries that lost citizens in the twin nightclub attacks that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Additionally, Sardona Siliwangi, one of the men involved in the attack on the JW Marriot hotel in Jakarta, received three months off his sentence of eight years. Also, the wife of Noordin M. Top, mentioned below, got two months off her two-year sentence for helping to hide her husband from the authorities.

Meanwhile president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that security forces need to remain vigilant against terrorist attacks because the man who masterminded most of the past terrorist attacks in Indonesia, Noordin M. Top, was still at large.

Yudhoyono acknowledged that police have made progress in cracking the network, killing Jemaah Islamiyah’s explosives expert Azahari bin Husin last year, but noted that Noordin M. Top remains on the run.

Noordin, seen as the group’s real strategist and one of its main recruiters, “is continuing his activities”, Yudhoyono said in his State of the Nation speech to the parliament, calling on security forces to keep on their guard.

Meanwhile, in an updated travel advisory notice, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned of continuing intelligence suggesting terrorists may be planning an attack on Western interests in Indonesia.

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