August 17, 2006

Indonesia trims sentences for Bali bombing convicts

By Ahmad Pathoni

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Nine people convicted for the 2002 Bali
nightclub bombings that killed 202 people had their sentences
cut by four months on Thursday to mark Indonesia's independence

Australia said victims and their families would be upset by
the decision. Most of those killed were foreign tourists,
including 88 Australians.

The nine prisoners are serving sentences between five and
16 years and were convicted on charges such as robbery to help
fund the attack and giving refuge to key figures.

"They are entitled to remissions because they have behaved
well," Bali's Kerobokan prison chief Ilham Djaya told
reporters. Eight of them are in prison in Bali and one in

Four people serving life sentences for the Bali bombs were
not given remissions, he said.

Indonesia traditionally has a prisoner remission programme
on August 17, the day it celebrates independence from Dutch
colonial rule.

A spokesman for Australian Foreign Minister Alexander
Downer said many Australians would be upset about the

"It is difficult for most Australians to comprehend that
such prisoners have received reduced sentences. This is
particularly painful for victims and their families. But
granting remissions is a long-standing practice in Indonesia,
and is in accordance with Indonesia's legal system."

Australia has previously asked Indonesia to review
automatic remissions for people convicted on terror-related
crimes, and a review was currently underway.

An Australian woman Schapelle Corby, who is serving a
20-year jail term in Bali for drug smuggling in a case that
transfixed Australians, was given a two-month remission.

Corby last week lodged a request for a judicial review
which will have her case re-opened.

A total of 33 people were jailed over the 2002 Bali blasts.
Among these, Amrozi, Ali Gufron, and Imam Samudra are on death
row for their leading roles in the bombings. They are due to be
executed this month.

Australia protested against the release in June of Abu
Bakar Bashir, a Muslim cleric who served 26 months of a
30-month sentence for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali blasts. The
radical cleric's sentence had been cut for last year's
independence day.

The nine Bali bomb convicts and Corby were among 54,000
prisoners across the country who had their sentences reduced to
mark independence day as celebrations were held across the

(Additional reporting by Ed Davies in JAKARTA and James
Grubel in CANBERRA)