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Death Penalty Demanded for Bali Bombing Suspect Ghufron - 2003-08-25

Indonesian prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for another of the suspected Bali bombers. Ali Ghufron is charged with playing a key role in the October attacks that killed 202 people on the Indonesian resort island.

Ali Ghufron raised his hands in prayer as a prosecutor demanded he be put to death for his alleged role in the Bali bombing. The demand was met with applause by others in the courtroom, some of them relatives of the victims killed in the deadly attack.

Indonesian authorities say Mr. Ghufron, who also uses the name Mukhlas, confessed to being one of the planners of the October 12 Bali bombing. They say he held meetings with other suspects and helped assess potential targets in Bali.

Mr. Ghufron's lawyers have yet to respond to the prosecution's case. Court was adjourned until next week.

Two-hundred-two people died when two bombs were detonated on a street in a popular Bali tourist district. Many of the dead were foreign tourists.

Police have said the plot was the work of Jemaah Islamiyah - a regional militant group with links to the al-Qaida network. JI, as the group is known, wants to build an Islamic state spanning several Southeast Asian countries.

The group is also suspected in the August 5 bombing of the J.W. Marriott hotel in the Indonesian capital, which killed 12 people.

Speaking at the trial of another suspected terrorist earlier this year, Mr. Ghufron said he had met several times with al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. Mr. Ghufron is one of more than 30 people arrested in the Bali plot, and one of four key suspects to be put on trial so far.

The first was his younger brother, Amrozi bin Nurhaysim, who was convicted earlier this month and sentenced to death for supplying the van and the explosives used to make a car bomb. He is appealing the verdict.

The alleged mastermind of the plot, Imam Samudra, also faces a possible death sentence when his verdict is handed down next month.