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Indonesian Police Give Bali Bombing Blast Evidence to Prosecutors - 2003-01-06


Less than three months after suspected Islamic militants detonated a massive car bomb outside a Bali nightclub, Indonesian police have handed their first dossier to prosecutors. Investigators hope the first trial could start as early as the middle of February.

The 1,600 page dossier details the evidence the police have amassed against Amrozi. The motorcycle mechanic has confessed to buying much of the explosive used in the bomb.

Mr. Amrozi has also admitted to owning the van in which the bomb was loaded before it exploded outside the Sari nightclub, in Bali's tourist district. More than 190 people, most of them Western tourists, died in the October 12 blast.

Mr. Amrozi was the first to be arrested in the case, and he led police to many of his suspected accomplices. The police have arrested 15 people in connection with the bombing.

Among them is Mr. Amrozi's elder brother, Mukhlas, who allegedly was in charge of planning the attack. Mr. Mukhlas has been accused of being a senior member of Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional organization dedicated to using violence to establish an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. Police hope to give prosecutors their evidence against Mr. Mukhlas next week.

Prosecutors have two weeks to consider the evidence against Mr. Amrozi before deciding whether to file charges. The head of the police investigation, Major General Made Mangku Pastika, says he hopes Mr. Amrozi's trial will begin in the middle of next month. He is likely to be tried under new anti-terrorism legislation and could face the death penalty.

The Indonesian police, assisted by officers from Australia, the United States and Britain, have won widespread praise for their handling of the investigation. Time magazine named General Pastika one of its people of the year for his success in tracking down the bombers.

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