No. 2 man behind Bali blasts arrested with 10 others

For the first time, prosecutors link JI to the bombings and demand the death sentence for a key suspect now on trial.

Indonesian police yesterday announced the recent arrest of the deputy commander of the group behind the Bali bombings as well as several other terrorist suspects, in another breakthrough in their investigations into the deadly blasts.

This was one of several major developments in the continuing fight against terrorism yesterday. Indonesian prosecutors tightened the screws on terrorists by demanding the death sentence for the key Bali bomb suspect, Amrozi Nurhasyim. They also linked the blasts to the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist network for the first time.

National detective chief Erwin Mappaseng told reporters that the police had arrested Idris, who also operated under the aliases of Jhoni Hendrawan and Gembrot, in Pekanbaru in Riau some time between June 12 and 15.

The 35-year-old suspect, who has been on the run for nearly nine months, was arrested with 10 other JI members. The police disclosed they were part of a gang that had robbed a bank in Medan with the aim of using the money to fund a future operation.

As No 2 to Imam Samudra, the alleged mastermind of the Oct 12 bombings, Idris is known to have attended many of the key meetings when the attack was plotted.

Officials allege that he is the money carrier and conduit between the leader and field operatives in Bali.

He is alleged to have bought a getaway motorcycle which one of the bombers reportedly used. He also allegedly arranged financing for the attack and accommodation in Bali for the bombers.

Idris is believed to have studied in an Islamic school in Malaysia that was headed by Ali Ghufron – one of three suspected JI members on trial for the Bali attack.

Mr Mappaseng said that the police were still hunting four other key suspects: Al-Qaeda linkman Hambali, Nurdin Moch Top, Azahari and Zulkifli Marzuki.

Those who have been arrested have been put on trial.

Indonesian prosecutors yesterday asked a court to impose the death penalty on Bali bombings suspect Amrozi, the first sentencing demand for any of the Muslim militants standing trial over the attacks.

Prosecutor Urip Trigunawan said Amrozi, a Muslim militant known as the smiling bomber, deserved to die.

‘We conclude that the defendant is responsible for terrorist acts that have caused anxiety, damage and the loss of lives,’ he told the Denpasar District Court in Bali.

Amrozi, the first of 34 suspects to go on trial over the bombings, listened impassively and stroked his beard when the sentence request was made. If sentenced to death, he would be executed by firing squad.

The 40-year-old is allegedly a member of the Al-Qaeda linked JI, which is accused of carrying out the attack that killed about 200 people, mostly foreigners.

Prosecutors, who thus far have avoided implicating the group, for the first time yesterday linked the Bali bombings to the JI.

Mr Urip told the panel of five judges that Amrozi and two others on trial for the attack were members of the group. ‘There is strong indication from the Bali bombings that they are members of Jemaah Islamiah,’ he said.

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