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9 convicted in Bali blasts get sentences reduced

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 day.
/ Source: 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 day.

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 Jakarta.

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

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

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

“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.

3 await execution
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 archipelago.