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Bali Bombing Convict Imron Gets Life Sentence - 2003-09-18

A court in Indonesia has sentenced one of the most important figures behind last October's bombing on the island of Bali to life in prison.

Ali Imron managed to escape the death sentences given to two of his co-conspirators because he has repeatedly apologized for his role in the bombings. Still, the life sentence he received Thursday is heavier than the 20 years that the prosecution had asked for.

Ali Imron was convicted of mixing nearly a ton of chemicals to create the main bomb and driving the minivan carrying it and two suspected suicide bombers to within striking distance of a crowded tourist bar.

Two hundred and two people died in the blast and the devastating fire that followed. Most of the victims were Western tourists.

The lead judge, Mulyani, says that Ali Imron, who used a string of aliases during his career, had been found guilty of conspiring and committing an act of terrorism.

There was a smattering of applause in the court as the judge pronounced the life sentence.

During his trial, Ali Imron testified that the bombing was in revenge for the West's mistreatment of Muslims.

In their verdict, the judges emphasized that the 33-year-old teacher at an Islamic school had come to the conclusion that the attack was un-Islamic.

Ali Imron is the third conspirator in the Bali attack to be sentenced. The other two, one of whom is his elder brother Amrozi, have shown no remorse and have been sentenced to death.

All 36 of the men arrested for the attack have been accused of being members of Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, a regional terrorist group that wants to create an Islamic state across much of Southeast Asia. The group has links to the al-Qaida terror network.

Indonesia has the world's largest population of Muslims, and analysts say that although only a tiny minority share JI's commitment to violent change, there are still enough to mount more operations.