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2 ex-soldiers get life sentences over Jakarta bombing.

JAKARTA, Aug. 22 Kyodo

An Indonesian special court Wednesday sentenced two low-ranking former soldiers to life imprisonment over last September's bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange building in which 10 people were killed.

The joint civilian and military tribunal passed the sentences down on Irwan Bin Ilyas and Ibrahim Hasan, both formerly corporals in elite branches of the army.

Prosecutors had sought death sentences for the two.

Ibrahim, 31, a former member of Indonesian Army Strategic Reserves Command, popularly known as Kostrad, was not present in the court as he escaped from the military police detention center late last month.

Lawyers for Irwan, 30, a former member of the elite Army special forces command, KOPASSUS, said he would appeal to a higher court.

The court found that the two defendants made a bomb using 43 TNT bars, while Irwan was the one who detonated the bomb in the parking lot of the building.

Besides killing 10 people, mostly drivers, the bomb also injured 46 others and damaged more than 70 vehicles.

''The bombing was meant to damage the country's economy,'' Presiding Judge Suwarno said.

On Monday, the South Jakarta District Court sentenced two other defendants in the same case to 20 years in jail for their role in the bombings.

The court found Tengku Ismuhadi Jafar, 30, guilty of planning the bombing, utilizing his auto repair shop to make the bomb and delivering it to the Jakarta Stock Exchange building on Sept. 13.

The other man, Nuryadin, 29, who goes by only one name, was found guilty of assembling and delivering the bomb.

Prosecutors had asked the court to give Jafar a death sentence and Nuryadin a life sentence.

As with Ibrahim, Nuryadin was tried in absentia since he escaped from Cipinang prison in East Jakarta last month.

The lawyer of the both defendants, Johnson Panjaitan, who is also the lawyer for the fugitive Ibrahim, said he felt disappointed that the court failed to reveal the motive behind the bombing.

Three of the defendants are Acehnese, and the military and police have hinted at a possible link with the separatist Free Aceh Movement, which had waged guerrilla warfare in Aceh since 1975 for an independent state.

But some human rights activists say that the defendants are being made scapegoats and that the military itself may be behind the bombings.

One prominent activist, Munir, a lawyer who runs the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS), has said he has received death threats since demanding an investigation into the military's possible involvement in the series of unsolved bombings that have rocked the country since last year.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Aug 27, 2001
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