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Wednesday, 10 September 2003
Page: 19702

Mr TOLLNER (3:13 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Would the minister inform the House on the progress of bringing the perpetrators of the Bali bombings to justice?

Mr DOWNER (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —I thank the member for Solomon for his question. It is an important question, and I appreciate the interest the honourable member always shows in these issues and has particularly shown in the disaster of the Bali bombing. The government welcomes Indonesia's commitment to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Bali bombing and the manner in which the trials into the bombing are being conducted. We appreciate the excellent work of the Indonesian police and the outstanding cooperation between the Indonesian police and our own Australian Federal Police in this investigation. That has led to the rapid dismantling of the cell that carried out the attack.

Over 30 people have been arrested in relation to the Bali bombing, of which around 24 have been formally charged in connection with the bombing. To date, four have been convicted. As the House will know, Amrozi received the death sentence on 7 August. Two days ago on 8 September, three others received lengthy jail sentences of between 15 and 16 years for their involvement in a robbery which helped to partly fund the bombings. It is for the Indonesian legal system to determine the appropriate sentence for those found guilty of the Bali terrorist attack. As the House knows, we have a long-standing position of opposition to the death penalty. However, given the horror of the Bali bombings and the outrage caused in Australia, the government has not protested to the Indonesian government over the imposition of the death sentence under Indonesian law in the Amrozi case. I note that the verdict in the trial of Imam Samudra will be handed down during the course of today—probably this evening. If Samudra is found guilty and receives the death penalty for his part in the Bali atrocity, the government again will not raise any objections. The verdict in the Mukhlas trial will be delivered at the end of September or possibly in early October. The verdict in the Ali Imron trial will be handed down in early October.

The government continues to work closely and cooperatively with Indonesian authorities in our joint efforts to eradicate terrorists from our region. The House would be aware of the $10 million package of assistance for counter-terrorism capability building, including a police component, that we have in place. In conclusion, it is also significant to note the cooperation between the Australian Federal Police and the Indonesians over the investigation into the Marriott bombing. At one stage, 23 Australian Federal Police officers were assisting Indonesian police at that site. I think the Indonesians have done an excellent job in terms of following up after the Bali bombing. On this day, we particularly await the verdict in the Imam Samudra case.