Indonesian sentenced to death for Australian Embassy suicide bombing

An Indonesian militant was sentenced to death on Tuesday for helping plan and carry out last year's suicide bombing at the Australian Embassy, the harshest penalty yet for the attack that killed 10 people.

Iwan Darmawan, 30, said he would appeal the verdict, which was the latest in a series of tough sentences against militants found guilty of terror attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation, the AP says.

"I am grateful to Allah for this punishment because it means I will die a martyr," he told reporters. "Why should I be afraid?"

Presiding Judge Roki Panjaitan said Darmawan surveyed the mission three times before the truck bombing, bought the explosives and helped persuade the suicide bomber to carry out the attack, which killed mostly Indonesian passers-by and guards.

The judge repeated allegations that the attack was funded by al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and was carried out "to avenge the slaughter of Muslims by America and its allies in Iraq."

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer welcomed the ruling, despite his country's oft-stated opposition to capital punishment, saying it demonstrated Indonesia's determination to punish those involved in the "heinous act."

Darmawan, also know as Rois, is the most senior of six people arrested in connection with the attack.

Three have already been sentenced to prison terms of between 3Ѕ and seven years, and prosecutors have asked for the death sentence for another man.

Darmawan has always denied any involvement in terrorism, and said that his trial was part of attempts by Indonesia's secular government to silence Islamic clerics who have stepped up their campaign for the imposition of Shariah law.

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