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Bali bombings: Indonesia jails man for masterminding attacks

Image source, Getty Images

An Islamist militant convicted of masterminding the 2002 Bali bombings and other deadly attacks in Indonesia has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The court in Jakarta found Zulkarnaen guilty of terrorism.

He had been on Indonesia’s most-wanted list ever since the bombings and had evaded arrest until December 2020.

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The blasts at two bars packed with tourists on the holiday island killed 202 people from 21 nations in Indonesia’s deadliest militant attack.

In 2008 three men were executed for their role in the bombings, and several others have either been jailed or killed by the security forces.

Last year a radical Muslim cleric linked to the Bali attacks was freed after 10 years in jail. Abu Bakar Ba’asyir is the former head of Jemaah Islamiah, an al-Qaeda-inspired group behind the attack.

Zulkarnaen, also known as Aris Sumarsono, was part of the same group, prosecutors told the court.

Photographs of the 26 Britons killed in the Bali bombings a year ago including that of Clive Walton (right) and Ed Waller (2nd right) stand beside candles lit in their memory by some of their relatives inside St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, where a memorial service was held in remembrance of them.

Image source, PA Media

They said other attacks carried out by a special unit under his command included Christmas and New Year church bombings in Indonesia in 2000 and 2001, a blast at the Philippines embassy in Jakarta in 2000, the 2003 Jakarta Marriot hotel bombing and the Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta in 2004.

Zulkarnaen, for whose capture the US had offered a $5m (£3.7m) bounty, admitted the Bali bombings were carried out by members of his team. But he told the court they had not advised him about the attack in advance, AFP news agency reports.

The judges did not agree that this absolved him of guilt.

“The fact that he was the head of the team and agreed on a plan in Bali… it could be considered agreeing to the plan,” said the presiding judge.

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