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Indonesia Sentences Hotel Bombing Conspirator to 10 Years in Jail  - 2004-09-02


An Indonesian court has sentenced a Muslim militant to 10 years in jail for his involvement in the deadly bombing of a Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. But, police recently treated another militant, imprisoned for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings, to coffee at a coffee shop.

A court found Masrizal bin Ali Umar guilty of buying the truck used in the August 2003 bombing of the Jakarta Marriott Hotel and transporting 100 kilograms of explosives.

Masrizal was acquitted on another charge of planning the attack, which killed 12 people. Prosecutors say it was carried out by members of the regional terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which also has been blamed for the 2002 bombing that killed more than 200 people in Bali.

The judge in the trial said Masrizal was guilty of committing a terrorist act in the Marriott car bombing, but was not convicted of planning the attack because he was "only following orders."

The alleged masterminds of the attack, Malaysians Noordin Mohammad and Azahari bin Husin, are still being hunted. They are also believed to have been involved in the Bali bombings.

Another terrorist, Ali Imron, was spotted Wednesday in a glitzy Jakarta mall drinking coffee with police at a shop owned by the U.S. company Starbucks.

Imron was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the Bali bombings. He was spared a death sentence after confessing and apologizing for the crime. He has cooperated extensively with police investigating the attack.

Umar Juoro, a political analyst with the Jakarta think tank the Center for Information and Development Studies, says the incident raises questions about police handling of the investigation.

But he says the incident should not cause people to lose confidence in the authorities' ability to go after terror suspects.

"I still have confidence in the long run [in] the way the work of the police especially, and the court in handling the threat of terrorism in Indonesia," he said.

Legislators and lawyers expressed outrage over the incident, saying Imron has been extended too many privileges for his cooperation. The police say the coffee drinking session was part of the investigation into the Bali attack.

Thirty people have been convicted for the Bali bombing. Three received death sentences and the rest were given prison sentences.

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