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Stock exchange bombers jailed for 20 years

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- An Indonesian court has sentenced two men to 20 year jail terms for masterminding a bomb attack on the Jakarta Stock Exchange last year that killed 15 people and shocked a nation accustomed to violence.

Prosecutors had demanded death for Teuku Ismuhadi Jafar and life for his accomplice, Nuryadin, who escaped from detention last month but was sentenced by the South Jakarta Court in absentia.

"The judges decided that the defendants were guilty of possessing and using illegal explosives which caused fatalities and damage," said chief judge Rosmandani Ahmad.

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The court shunned the death charge for Jafar, saying that while he had ordered the blast he did not actively participate at the scene of the crime in bustling downtown Jakarta.

Jafar told the court he would appeal.

"I will find justice at the higher level...The international level if I have to. I know nothing about this blast," he said.

The blast in the stock exchange's car park last September struck a major blow to the government's attempts to persuade investors that Indonesia was a safe place to do business.

The dead and injured were mainly drivers -- commonly used in Indonesia -- who were waiting in the car park until the end of the day to take their bosses home.

Of three other men accused over the blast, two are on the run while another has yet to be sentenced.

Little is known about the five men, although the court said their motive was to destabilize Indonesia.

Police have struggled to solve a spate of bomb attacks across the archipelago although earlier this month they said evidence had been uncovered linking the fugitive son of former President Suharto to some of the bombings in Jakarta over the past year.

They have not specified those bombings while lawyers for Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra have told police not to jump to conclusions.

A Jakarta court recently put three men in jail for lengthy terms for throwing a grenade into the Malaysian Embassy in the capital last year.

Many Indonesians hope the peaceful rise to power of Megawati Sukarnoputri last month will bring stability.

Reuters contributed to this report.






RELATED STORY:
• Jakarta bourse blast toll reaches 15
September 14, 2000

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