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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
First Bali bomb suspect charged
Amrozi being escorted by prosecutors in the Bali investigation
Amrozi is accused of buying the explosives used in the bomb

Indonesian prosecutors have formally charged their first suspect in connection with the 2002 Bali bombings.

A spokesman for the prosecution, Antasari Azhar, said the trial of the man, known only as Amrozi, was expected to start on 12 May.

The bomb attacks have been blamed on members of the Muslim militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI). A treason trial against the group's spiritual leader, Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, is already underway.

Mr Ba'asyir, who has been charged with plotting to overthrow the Jakarta Government and turn Indonesia into an Islamic state, began his defence on Wednesday saying that God would be his judge.

"I testify that there is no other absolute ruler, protector or judge except Allah," he told the five trial judges. "There is no source of law except Allah."

ABU BAKAR BA'ASYIR
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
Has praised Osama Bin Laden
Runs an Islamic school in Java
Denies links with terrorism

The indictment against Mr Ba'asyir does not name him as a suspect in the Bali attack, but relates principally to a series of church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000, which killed 19 people.

The cleric insists he is being made a scapegoat by a government determined to restrict the activities of true Muslims.

If convicted, Mr Ba'asyir could spend the rest of his life in jail.

New terror laws

Amrozi, 35, has been charged under an anti-terrorism act passed following the bombings, which killed more than 200 people and he could face the death sentence if convicted.

Police have accused him of buying the explosives used to make the bombs, and the van used to transport them to the nightclub.

He was not present at Denpasar district court for his indictment.

The trial is expected to be held in a specially converted hall near the district court, which has had a metal cage installed to house defendants.

Indonesian authorities have detained more than 30 other people in connection with the bomb attack, including two of Amrozi's brothers.

They are expected to go on trial later this year and all of the trials are scheduled to take place on Bali island.

Meanwhile in the capital Jakarta, national police chief General Da'i Bachtiar said 15 suspected members of JI arrested last week in Indonesia were believed to have "indirect links" with the bomb attack.

General Bachtiar said some of the 15 were suspected of helping to hide members of the group who took part in the bombing.




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