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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Bali bomb plot 'mastermind' in court
The trial of the man accused of organising the Bali night club bombings last year has opened in Indonesia.

Mukhlas, also known as Ali Gufron, is the third key suspect to come to trial charged with involvement in the Bali bombings.

Taught at an Islamic school
Older brother of Amrozi
Alleged operations chief of JI

The latest hearing in the trial of his younger brother, Amrozi, who is accused of supplying both the van and explosives used in the bombings, also took place on Monday.

Three Australian survivors of the bombings appeared as witnesses, giving graphic accounts of the night of the 12 October.

Both men face the death penalty if found guilty.

Reading the indictment against Mukhlas, prosecutor Putu Indriati said the blasts were part of a plan to wage war against the United States and its allies in revenge for the "slaughtering" of Muslims worldwide.

She said Mukhlas felt "grateful" on hearing reports of the bombing, because "the planned purpose has been achieved".

Trial began on 12 May
Accused of providing the van and bombs used in the attacks.
Imam Samudra
Trial began on 2 June
Accused of planning the attacks.
Mukhlas (Ali Gufron)
Trial began on 16 June
Accused of being the 'mastermind' behind the attacks
Also said to be operations chief of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
On trial for series of church bombings in 2000.
Often linked to Bali bombings as he is accused of being JI's spiritual leader

Wearing a white Muslim cap and collarless shirt, Mukhlas shouted "Allauhu Akbar" (God is great) before the trial, but sat quietly as the indictment against him was read out, occasionally twisting his fingers through his wispy beard.

He was not able to respond personally to the charges because he had left his prepared statement in his prison cell. He will now have to wait until next week, when his trial resumes, for an opportunity to respond to the charges against him.

Later on Monday, at the trial of his brother Amrozi, witnesses described what happened on the night when two bombs ripped through the Sari Club and nearby Paddy's Bar, killing more than 200 people.

One of the witnesses, 24-year-old Stuart Anstee, said he blacked out for several minutes after a bomb hit the Sari Club, where he was partying with five friends.

Jason MdCartney
Jason MdCartney was in Paddy's Bar when the bomb went off

When he came round, he was bleeding heavily from the neck. Three of his friends lay dead beside him.

Mr Anstee told the court he felt angry and had plenty of recovering still to do.

But he added that it was important that Australians explained what happened to them that night.

Another witness, 29-year-old Jason McCartney, who was in Paddy's Bar at the time of the attack, said he was temporarily blinded by the force of the light from the blast.

He said he had lost his job as a professional Australian Rules footballer as a result of the injuries he sustained, according to Reuters news agency.

Asked why he came back to testify, Mr McCartney said: "I believe it is my duty to not only represent Australians, but the people of the world as one, to make a stand against terrorism."

Bin Laden lnks

Mukhlas is accused of being the overall co-ordinator of the operation, approving the choice of targets and providing the money used to organise the attacks.

Police believe Mukhlas is a senior member of the militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah, which Indonesia blames for the Bali attacks and which officials have linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Prosecutor Putu Indriati said Mukhlas had met Osama Bin Laden during the three years he spent there helping to fight Soviet forces. Mukhlas has already said he knew the al-Qaeda leader well.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey reports from Bali
"Police believe he is the regional commander of a militant Islamic organisation"


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