February 13, 2006

Indonesia court gives death to terrorism suspect

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian court sentenced a man to
death on Monday for killing eight people in attacks in the
Moluccas islands that sparked fears of sectarian bloodshed in
the region, local media reported.

The court in the islands' main city of Ambon said that
Assep Djaja and his accomplices had carried out what it said
were terrorist attacks in two villages in the islands last year
and in 2004.

Four policemen guarding a Christian enclave surrounded by
Muslim villages were killed in the attack last year.

"What the defendant had done was sadistic and inhumane,"
Antara national agency quoted the court as saying in its

The Moluccas islands, 1,440 miles east of Jakarta, was the
scene of vicious communal fighting between Muslims and
Christians from 1999 to 2002 which left more than 5,000 dead.

The conflict also drew Muslim militants from groups such as
the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah, a Southeast Asian network
blamed for numerous bomb attacks across Indonesia.

Since a 2002 truce between Muslim and Christian
communities, sectarian battles have subsided on the islands
although violence still sporadically erupts.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation with
about 85 percent of its 220 million population following Islam.
Ambon, like many areas in the country's east, has a roughly
equal proportion of Muslims and Christians.