AUSTRALIA has praised Indonesia's decision to charge militant Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir under a tough anti-terror law, even though he will not be directly tried for the Bali bombings.
Bashir was charged over last year's deadly Marriott Hotel blast in Jakarta. But Indonesian prsecutors said he would not face trial under the anti-terror law for the October 2002 Bali blasts because the law could not be applied retroactively.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia just wanted to see Bashir and those behind the Bali blasts jailed and how that was achieved was a matter for the Indonesians.
"The issue for us is that Abu Bakar Bashir face justice for his alleged involvement in terrorism," he told reporters. "Abu Bakar Bashir is the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was the organisation responsible for the Bali bombing."
On Tuesday self-confessed Bali bomber Idris escaped sentencing for those attacks. He was jailed for 10 years for his role in the Marriott bombing that killed 12 people in August 2003.
The South Jakarta district court cited a Constitutional Court ruling in July that rejected the retroactive use of the anti-terror law to cover the Bali blasts.
Prime Minister John Howard said Wednesday Australia was concerned that Idris, also known as Jhoni Hendrawan, escaped justice for the Bali attacks which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
"I can promise the families of the victims that no stone will be left unturned by my government to see that these people remain behind bars," Howard told ABC radio.
Downer said it was hoped Idris could be charged with other offences over the Bali attacks. "Whether they can bring new charges against him, for example, of murder, it just remains to be seen."
Idris was at most of the key planning meetings for the Bali bombings, scouted the targets, taught a car bomber how to drive and detonated the smallest of the bombs near the US consulate.
Downer denied the Idris case showed Bali bombers were slipping through the net. "He is nevertheless in jail and has been sentenced to 10 years." he said.
He was to hold discusssions with Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda to discuss the court's ruling.
The Bashir and Idris cases have fuelled fears in Australia that fugitive Bali bombers will escape justice, and concern over whether 33 previous Bali-related convictions will stand.
Downer said Australians should not direct their wrath at the Indonesian government because Jakarta was working hard to ensure those behind the bombings were brought to justice.
Source: Herald Sun
AS: Poor Ust. Abu Bakar Bashir now as a slaughtered scapegoat. Congrats to Indonesian Regime to be part of this "Anti-Terror" puppet show.