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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 04:50 GMT 05:50 UK
Bali bombing victims remembered
A Balinese couple hold candles at an overnight vigil on 11 October 2007
Ceremonies are being held in both Indonesia and Australia
Ceremonies are taking place on the Indonesian island of Bali to mark the fifth anniversary of deadly bombings.

Two hundred and two people died in blasts at two nightclubs in the Kuta tourist area on 12 October 2002.

Relatives of victims attended a ceremony in Bali's capital, Denpasar, while Australia, which lost 88 people in the attacks, also marked the day.

At dusk, people will gather at Kuta beach to witness 202 sea turtles being released into the sea.

More than 30 people have been jailed for the Bali bombings, which were blamed on the South East Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah.

Death sentences

In Bali, commemorations began on Thursday when thousands of people gathered in front of local government offices for music and prayers.

After the turtles are released at dusk, there will be more prayers at the site of the attacks.

In Australia, groups gathered at beaches in Perth and Sydney to remember those who died.

In a statement, Prime Minister John Howard described the bombings as a "tragic chapter" in Australia's history.

Mukhlas (l) and Imam Samudra (r) on 24 October 2006
Three men have been sentenced to death over the attacks

"Those who perpetrated the attacks sought to sow division and hatred," he said. "Instead the Bali bombings brought the peoples of Australia and Indonesia closer together."

But he also criticised a decision by the head of Indonesia's anti-terror unit, Brig-Gen Surya Dharma, to host convicted militants, including two men jailed for their roles in the Bali bombings, at a meal last month.

Brig-Gen Dharma said it was part of a strategy of dialogue with extremists to reduce the threat of terrorism, the Associated Press news agency reported, but Mr Howard told local radio that he was "absolutely disgusted" by the event.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected the final appeals of three Islamist militants convicted over the Bali attacks.

Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Mukhlas, or Ali Gufron, were all sentenced to death in 2003 for playing major roles in planning and coordinating the bombings.

No date has been set for the death sentences to be carried out.

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