Two Indonesian Muslim militants face life sentences

(dpa) - Indonesian prosecutors demanded life in prison Wednesday for two senior leaders of an al-Qaeda-linked South-East Asian terror network accused of multiple terrorism charges including illegally possessing and distributing weapons and explosive materials for terrorist acts.

In the first court session, chief prosecutor Payaman told the South Jakarta district court that Abu Dujana, 38, the self-proclaimed military commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, has been proven "legally and convincingly guilty" of having committed terrorist acts.

"We urged the court to hand down a life jail sentence to the defendant," said Payaman, who like many Indonesians goes only by one name.

At another court hearing hours later, chief prosecutor Bayu Nugroho also urged the court to hand down jail for life to Muslim militant Zarkasih, the alleged "emir" of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), who was on trial on similar charges.

Zarkasih is also accused of holding several meetings discussing the progress and the strategy of their struggle in Poso of the Central Sulawesi province, which was hit by sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians seven years ago that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people.

In addition to charges of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks, Dujana is also charged with hiding fugitive Bali bombings mastermind Noordin M Top and JI's master bombmaker, Azahari bin Husin, who was killed in a police raid two years ago.

He is also accused of stockpiling and distributing illegal arms, funding a string of terrorist activities and helping to organize attacks in Central Sulawesi.

Dujana told the court during testimony in the previous hearing that he helped procure weapons and cash in Indonesia to help defend Muslims.

Both Dujana and Zarkasih are charged under anti-terrorism laws that were enacted only weeks after the October 2002 bombings of two nightspots on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that left at least 202 people dead, mostly foreign visitors.

Dujana also told judges in previous hearings that he received an equivalent to 3,300 dollars from a Muslim militant in central Sulawesi and gave it to Zarkasih.

Indonesia's elite anti-terror squad, Detachment 88, captured Dujana in Central Java in June, shortly after police named him as their most wanted terror suspect. He was shot twice in the leg before he surrendered.

Two days after Dujana's arrest, an anti-terror police squad captured Zarkasih in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta. Police believed Zarkasih replaced Abu Bakar Ba'asyir and then Abu Rusdan as leader of JI.

The two arrests followed the discovery of bunkers containing hundreds of kilos of explosives and weapons beneath houses in Central Java. Police said the haul could have created a blast more powerful than the 2002 Bali bombs.

Dujana said he underwent training in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 1989 and became an instructor in the southern Philippines in the 1990s.

Dujana led JI's military wing, Sariyah, from 2004 until his arrest, police claim. During his leadership, he recruited followers, organised the allocation of explosives and planned JI's battle strategy.

Jemaah Islamiyah is also accused of carrying out a 2003 attack on the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, a 2004 attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and 2005 triple suicide bombing on restaurants in Bali.

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