Wed, Oct 25, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Bali bombing pair freed on early release

AP , JAKARTA

Muhammad Rudi bin Salim, center, leaves the Kerobokan prison in Denpasar on Bali yesterday after he was freed.

PHOTO: AFP

Two Islamic militants jailed for the Bali bombings that killed 202 people were freed yesterday and nine others had their sentences reduced to mark the end of the Islamic fasting month, officials said.

Indonesia traditionally cuts prison terms for inmates who exhibit good behavior on national holidays and the justice ministry said more than 43,000 convicts benefited this time.

But the decision to include convicted terrorists was likely to anger countries that lost citizens in the Oct. 12, 2002, attacks on two crowded nightclubs.

"After what I've survived, to see these people get rewarded ... it's something we Westerners just don't understand," said Australian Peter Hughes, who suffered burns over 54 percent of his body.

"I hate to think what the families of the victims who died are going through," he said.

Mujarod bin Salim and Sirojul Munir, who were convicted of hiding two of the masterminds of the suicide bombings, had up to 45 days shaved from their five-year sentences.

Bin Salim walked free from the main prison on Bali yesterday afternoon, said warden Ilham Jaya, and Munir left the jail in East Kalimantan's capital of Balikpapan several hours earlier.

"I'm happy that I'll be able to spend time with my family again," said Munir, adding he had nothing to do with the attacks and could only pray he would not be stigmatized by his time in jail.

Nine others convicted of minor roles in the bombings -- from withholding information that could have helped police to helping finance the strikes -- also had one-and-a-half months cut from their sentences. The government says three militants on death row for the Bali attacks -- Amrozi, Ali Gufron and Imam Samudra -- and three others sentenced to life are not eligible for the sentence reductions.

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