Indonesia has requested sentence reductions for 28 people convicted in the 2002 Bali bombings, including the alleged spiritual head of an al-Qaida-linked group, to mark the end of Ramadan, officials said Monday. The requests come over objections from Australia, home to many of the victims of the twin nightclub attacks that killed 202 people.
Indonesia traditionally cuts prison terms on national holidays, usually by several months, for inmates who exhibit good behavior. Only those sentenced to death or life in prison are excluded.
Justice Minister Hamid Awaluddin said Sunday that all convicted terrorists, including Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, would be eligible for remissions that will be announced on Thursday, the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.
Bashir, originally sentenced to 30 months in prison, benefited from a 4Ѕ month reduction earlier this year and authorities now say they are asking that another 30 days be slashed from his jail time. If approved, the alleged spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group would leave Cipinang Prison in Jakarta in May, said Kartono Supangat, a senior human rights ministry official. Mayun Mataram, head of the Bali Prisons Division, said reductions were also being sought for all 19 convicted bombers being held in Bali's main prison.
Requests also have been put in for seven Bali bombers being held in East Kalimantan's provincial capital Balikpapan, and one other bomber being held at the national police headquarters in the capital.
Indonesian authorities have arrested and brought to trial dozens of terror suspects since the Oct. 12, 2002, bombings, sentencing several important Jemaah Islamiyah members , including Bashir. Five are on death row, reports the AP. I.L.