Accessibility links

Top Operative of Islamic Militant Group Faces Death Penalty for Bali Bombing


Nine more suspects face charges in Indonesia for last year's devastating Bali bombing attack. One of those charged is Ali Ghufron, who is considered a high-level operative for the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Indonesian prosecutors on Tuesday handed their dossier of charges against Ali Ghufron to a Bali court. Chief prosecutor Mohammed Salim said under Indonesia's anti-terrorism law, Mr. Ghufron could face the death penalty if convicted of helping organize the Bali bombing.

Police say Mr. Ghufron, who also goes by the name Mukhlas, is a top operative for the regional militant network, Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI. They also charge that he became JI's operations chief after the previous chief, Riduan Isamuddin, went into hiding. Mr. Isamuddin is known by the alias Hambali.

JI has been classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations, and it is allegedly linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network. JI seeks to overthrow the Indonesian and other regional governments as part of a plan to create an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.

Mr. Ghufron testified last week at the trial of JI's alleged spiritual chief, Abu Bakar Bashir, in Jakarta. There, he admitted his role in the Bali attack.

Mr. Ghufron tells the court he planned the Bali bombing with Hambali, and a few others.

Also at that trial, Mr. Ghufron said he has met with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on several occasions. He said, however, the al-Qaida chief did not help plan the Bali attack.

Prosecutors also handed over indictments against eight other suspects. Most are minor players in the plot, who helped hide the bombers from police. More than 30 suspects have been arrested so far.

No date has been set for Mr. Ghufron's trial. The trials of two other main suspects, Imam Samudra and Amrozi, are currently under way.

At least 202 people died in Bali last October 12, when two bombs were set off in a crowded tourist district. The incident is considered the worst terrorist attack in Indonesia's history.

XS
SM
MD
LG