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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Dismay as Bali bomb terms reduced
Aftermath of bombing
Some 202 people lost their lives in the bombings
The families of British victims of the 2002 Bali bombings have reacted with dismay at the decision to cut jail sentences on 12 militants.

The UK Bali Bomb Victims' Group said the move gives the impression terrorism is not taken seriously in Indonesia.

It sends an "alarming message" to the travelling public, the charity said.

The measures - traditionally extended to prisoners on Indonesian independence day - did not cover those serving life or sentenced to death for their roles.

But 12 men had their terms cut by up to four months each, meaning one was able to walk free.

They were sentenced to terms of up to 16 years for offences including sheltering suspects or carrying out robberies to fund the attacks.

'Global threat'

Twenty-eight Britons were among 202 people who died when two bombs exploded in the Kuta area on 12 October, 2002.

"It's always going to be difficult for relatives when people do start to be released and we have to accept that," victims' group spokeswoman Susanna Miller told the BBC News website.

"But it sends a worrying message when clemency gets extended to acts of terrorism."

Her brother Dan, 31, a Hong Kong-based lawyer who grew up near Sevenoaks in Kent, was among the victims.

Key terrorists still remain either at large or yet to be bought to justice
UK Bali Bomb Victims' Group

Ms Miller said Indonesia was "sending out a curious signal" at a time it was still trying to attract back visitors put off by both the 2002 explosions and further attacks in tourist areas last year.

In a statement, the victims' group said: "It is notable that the early release of those convicted is being contemplated whilst key terrorists still remain either at large or yet to be bought to justice.

"The Indonesian authorities are contemplating the early release of some of those convicted of involvement in the bombing without having caught or brought to justice some of the most key terrorists involved."

It added the move "can only serve to exacerbate the current climate of unease regarding the global terrorist threat".

Ms Miller acknowledged Indonesia was making efforts to address terrorism.

But she contends Jemaah Islamiah, the group blamed for the 2002 and 2005 bombings, is still a "sophisticated international" network with links to al-Qaeda.

She said the suspected bomb maker remains at large while alleged mastermind Hambali is in US custody, with no date set for his trial.

The reduction in sentences also sparked anger in Australia, which lost 88 citizens in the 2002 attacks.

The Indonesian embassy in London was not available for comment.




SEE ALSO
Indonesia cuts Bali prison terms
17 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Bali bombers to appeal execution
28 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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