- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2003

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 19 (UPI) — Indonesian police handed over evidence to prosecutors Wednesday for the case against a suspect accused of masterminding the October bombings on Bali that killed more than 200 people from 21 countries.

In the 1,501-page dossier given to prosecutors on the Indonesian island, police charged Imam Samudra, also known as Abdul Azis, of plotting and carrying out premeditated terror acts causing mass casualties. The file was based on the testimony of 112 witnesses, evidence and re-enactment of the crime, a police spokesman told reporters.

Police say Samudra, 35, was the "field commander" and the person most responsible for the Oct. 12, 2002, bombings that ripped through two nightspots in Bali's famous tourist area of Kuta.

"Samudra was the mastermind and executed the Bali bombings. He is the planner and the field coordinator of the blasts, and chaired a series of meetings to plan the bombing attack," said Bali police spokesman Yatim Suyatmo. "He (Samudra) faces the death penalty."

On Tuesday, police announced a new death toll in the Bali bombings at 202, mostly Australians tourists.

Along with Samudra's file, investigators also submitted the dossiers of four other suspects — Abdul Rauf, Junaedi, Andri Octavia and Andi Hidayat. They face up to 15 years in prison.

Samudra, believed to be a senior member of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network, was arrested Nov. 21 in the West Java town of Merak. He was quoted as admitting to planning and ordering the Bali blasts as well as involvement in a church bombing in Batam — just south of Singapore — on Christmas Eve 2000.

Under Indonesia's legal system, prosecutors usually decide if there is enough evidence to go to court, which sets the trial date. Prosecutors frequently return dossiers they consider incomplete.

On Monday, police submitted their dossier on another key suspect Ali Gufron, also known as Mukhlas, the alleged operational head of Jemaah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia. Police last week handed over the dossier of Amrozi, the first suspect arrested over the attack.

The trials in the Bali tragedy could begin in February, though that appears unlikely, officials said.

Police have so far arrested at least 25 people in connection with the Bali blasts, including 17 key suspects such as Gufron, Samudra, Amrozi and Ali Imron. Investigators are still searching several more suspects who they say are still on the run.

Police have directly blamed the Jemaah Islamiyah group for the attack. The Muslim extremists' alleged goal is to establish a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia and investigators in Indonesia and the United States believe they have links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida network. Bin Laden is suspected of having orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in which suicide hijackers flew commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.

Indonesian authorities say they have also linked Jemaah Islamiyah's alleged spiritual leader, Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Baasyir, to the Bali blasts, but have not named him as a suspect. Baasyir, who is detained in Jakarta, denies any wrongdoing.


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