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Indonesian Police Release Evidence in Bali Bombing - 2003-02-19

Indonesian police have handed over some 1,500 pages of evidence against the alleged mastermind of last October's bomb attack in Bali.

Police say the evidence they gathered against Imam Samudra was based on the physical evidence they gathered, more than 100 interviews, and re-enactments of the deadly bombing.

Officers handed 1,500 pages of evidence against Mr. Samudra to prosecutors on Wednesday in preparation for his upcoming trial. They also handed over evidence against three other minor suspects.

Mr. Samudra could face the death penalty if convicted.

Authorities have labeled Mr. Samudra the "mastermind" behind the October 12th bomb attack in which two explosions ripped through a crowded tourist district. They say he was involved in planning the bombing, choosing a target and giving the order for the attack to proceed.

Police say the 35 year old Mr. Samudra is a computer expert. He was arrested in West Java five weeks after the bombing.

Last week police gave prosecutors evidence against a suspect named Amrozi - who owned the van that was used in the bombing. Earlier this week, they handed over the dossier against Ali Ghufron, another key suspect.

The first trial of a Bali bombing suspect, that of Mr. Amrozi, is expected to begin in mid to late March.

Indonesian authorities say they believe the Bali bombing was the work of Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI. The regional militant group seeks to create an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.

The governments of Singapore, Malaysia and the United States say that JI is a Southeast Asian affiliate of the al-Qaida terror network.

Indonesian authorities also say the number of victims in the Bali bombing now stands at 202. Previously, it was said that 194 people died.

Indonesia has been heading the investigation into the bombing, with the assistance of Australia and several other nations. The Australian government has not yet confirmed the new number of victims.

Australians lost the greatest number of people, with at least 88 nationals killed, and Indonesia lost the second highest number, with 38 victims.