Third Bali bomber is sentenced to death

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The Independent Online

The man accused of co- ordinating the Bali nightclub bombings was sentenced to death by an Indonesian court yesterday, becoming the third person involved in the case to be condemned to face a firing squad. Mukhlas, also known as Ali Gufron, said he would appeal against the verdict, which came a few days before the first anniversary of the attack in which 202 people were killed, including 26 Britons.

The court concluded that Mukhlas had been "proven legally and convincingly guilty of collectively plotting crimes of terrorism". As the death sentence was read out, he leapt from his chair, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).

Prosecutors alleged that Mukhlas, 43, chaired preparatory meetings for the bombings, channelled funds to finance the attack, and approved the target - the bars and nightclubs of the Bali resort of Kuta.

He admitted involvement in the plot but denied that he had a direct role, saying that as a teacher of Islam he gave the bombers religious guidance. He said he was not in Bali on the night of the attacks.

Police and intelligence agents had identified him as one of the senior leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah, a South-east Asian militant group believed to have links with al-Qa'ida. He denied this - although he did admit meeting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1987.

Mukhlas joins his younger brother, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, on Death Row. Amrozi was convicted in August of providing the van and bombs used in the attacks. A second Indonesian, Imam Samudra, the so-called "field commander" of the bombings, was sentenced to death last month.

Ali Imron, a brother of Mukhlas and Amrozi who claimed to have made the main bomb, co-operated with the police. Last month he was sentenced to life imprisonment.