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Indonesian Bombing Suspect Causes Outrage in Australia - 2002-11-14

Australian politicians and news media are expressing outrage after the man suspected of carrying out the deadly bomb attack in Bali was captured on television laughing with Indonesian police.

The chief suspect in the Bali bombing, Amrozi, was questioned by Indonesian investigators with news crews looking on. Almost 200 people were killed when two explosions ripped through a popular night-club district on the Indonesian island last month, and roughly half of the dead were Australians.

Mr. Amrozi and his interrogators are seen laughing together at one point. At another, the suspect points at Western journalists, saying they were the sort of people he wanted to kill.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said television pictures of the alleged murderer laughing with his captors was in his words, "just horrific." Australia's opposition leader Simon Crean labeled the scenes both bizarre and insensitive. The Australian press also expressed its outrage, with one newspaper referring to Mr. Amrozi as Osama Bin Laden's "grinning puppet."

Indonesian police have defended their actions, with senior officers saying the interrogation had been conducted in public to show skeptical Indonesians who had grown up under a dictatorship that investigators were following due process.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has promised his government will not be intimidated by new claims that the Bali bombing was retribution for his support for the war on terrorism.

A recent audio tape attributed to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden said the attacks in Bali followed warnings about Canberra's backing of Washington's anti-terror campaign. The voice on the tape said countries that continue to support the campaign could face further attacks.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Howard said although the tape was being examined by voice experts to check its authenticity, he was convinced it was genuine. "It is a chilling tape, the tape of somebody who by his very reference to God dishonors the great religions of the world," said John Howard. "I find it so obscene somebody should seek in the name of God and in the name of Islam to justify the sort of deeds that have been committed by this organization."

For Foreign Affairs Department says 66 Australians are now confirmed dead as a result of the Bali bombing, while another 21 are missing and presumed dead.