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Indonesian Court Sentences Bali Bomber to Life - 2004-02-09

A court on the Indonesian island of Bali has given a life sentence to one of the men who prepared the October 2002 bomb that killed more than 200 people at a tourist nightclub. The conviction is another success for police and prosecutors, but the threat from Islamic militancy is far from over.

Suranto Abdul Ghoni was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to life in prison.

Ghoni was convicted of playing a key logistics role in the October 2002 Bali bombing. According to prosecutors he attended planning meetings, arranged to have some of the chemicals used to make the bomb sent to Bali and helped pack it into plastic boxes to be transported to the bomb site.

Ghoni showed little reaction as sentence was passed, but his lawyers said he would appeal the verdict.

Terrorism experts believe that he was also involved in a series of church bombings across the Indonesian archipelago on Christmas Eve 2000, which killed 19 people. However, he has not been charged in connection with those attacks.

Ghoni is the 31st person to be convicted in connection with the Bali bombing. Three people have been sentenced to death, and he is the fourth to get life imprisonment.

Despite these successes, two of the key players in the bombing - the men believed to have designed and overseen the building of the bomb, Azahari Husin and Dulmatin - are still at large.

All the bombers are thought to be members of the regional terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which has connections to the al Qaeda network.

A recent report from the International Crisis Group warned that although the arrests of the Bali bombers has dealt a massive blow to one JI faction, another faction is committed to creating an Islamic state in Indonesia, and is prepared to use violence to further its ends.