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Monday, 23 October 2006

Bali bombing militants to be freed

In a decision likely to anger Australia and other countries that lost citizens in the 2002 Bali bombings, two of the Islamic militants jailed for the attack will be freed tomorrow to mark the end of the Islamic fasting month.

Ten other militants jailed for the bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, will have their sentences reduced, officials said.

Indonesia traditionally marks national holidays by cutting prison terms for inmates who exhibit good behaviour - usually by several months.

But the decision is likely to anger countries that lost citizens in the 2002 attacks on two crowded nightclubs.

Sirojul Munir, sentenced to five years for hiding one of the masterminds of the suicide bombings, will leave the jail in East Kalimantan's capital of Balikpapan tomorrow, said Edi, a prison official who uses a single name.

The other militant, whose identity was not released, will be released from the main prison on Bali island, said Anak Agung Mayun Mataram, the justice ministry's head of Bali's prison division.

2002 Bali survivor Peter Hughes, 46, said the news would come as a slap in the face for the families of some victims.

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"For me it's probably not going to affect me that much, it probably more so effects the people that lost people," Hughes said.

"I think they are the ones that bear the brunt of it all, which is pretty sad.

"I think the thing is the Indonesian government, by doing this, they don't understand that it becomes a slap in the face for us and it's actually a reward for their (terrorists') cause, which is pathetic.

"You can't reward terrorists and that's what they are doing."

Hughes said he'd been able to move on since the blasts, and did not think the planned execution of three of the bombers would bring him any further sense of closure.

"I think enough people have died out of Bali," he said.

"I think these guys just need to be put in a hole somewhere and not be heard of again, that would be the best way of handling it.

"I think killing them is not going to make any difference to me, it might bring a little bit of closure for some people and a reward for killing their sons or daughters.

"But I think most of us ... (would just prefer) not to hear about them anymore, just put them in a hole somewhere and let them suffer a bit."

A total of 33 people were jailed over the 2002 Bali blasts, the most deadly in a string of attacks in Indonesia blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiah.

Three - Amrozi, Ali Gufron and Imam Samudra - are scheduled to be executed and three others are serving life sentences.

Under Indonesian law, they are not eligible for prison sentence reductions.

BB: Flabergasted, Can Indonesia show any more disrespect to the victims of Bali?

SMH: Bali bombing militants to be freed

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