Head of terrorist cell responsible for 2002 Bali bombings gets 15 years
The East Jakarta District Court sentenced Arif Sunarso yesterday. On the run for 18 years, he also played a key role in some attacks in the Philippines in the early 2000s.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The East Jakarta District Court sentenced Arif Sunarso, head of the group responsible for the 2002 Bali terrorist attack, to 15 years in prison. More than 200 people, mostly foreign nationals, were killed.
Also known as Zulkarnaen, Daud and Abdullah Abdurrohman, the 58-year-old managed to avoid capture for 18 years.
Previously, prosecutors requested a life sentence for the terrorist, but the panel of three judges ignored the first charge because the prosecution period had expired.
“Information about the ruling from East Jakarta District is absolutely correct,” said Alex Adam Faisal, the court’s spokesperson.
The accused not only masterminded the Bali attacks, but was also responsible for attacks on Jolo Island (Philippines) and was a key asset for the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group, as an instructor in its training camps. For at least seven years, he oversaw the training of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan and the Philippines.
Police had detained Sunarso previously in connection with a series of attacks against Indonesian churches in several cities between Christmas and New Year in 2000-2001, Indonesian police spokesman Ahmad Ramadan said in 2020.
During the trial the defendant denied involvement in the Bali bombings, specifically rejecting the prosecution’s claim that he was took part in the planning; however, he admitted that the bombings were carried out by his team.
Sunarso was captured on 20 December 2020 by Densus 88, Indonesia’s special anti-terrorism squad, after spending nearly 18 years in Lampung, on the island of Sumatra.
According to internal Densus 88 documents, the terrorist was involved in clashes between radical Islamists and Protestant Christians in Ambon (Maluku province) and Poso (Central Sulawesi province), between 1998 and 2000.
He was also held responsible for a bomb attack against the Philippine ambassador's residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on 1 August 2000.