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Govt: Not enough evidence to outlaw JI JAKARTA - The government says there is still not enough evidence that Jemaah Islamiah is a terrorist organisation to pass a law banning its existence. Despite last week's bombing of the Australian embassy - the third major bombing in two years for which JI has been blamed - Indonesia's acting Security Minister, Hari Sabarno, said the Government still had no plans to outlaw the organisation.
"We have not arrived at the conclusion to ban or not a certain organisation. We have to first prove it (that it is a terror group) accurately," he said when asked yesterday whether the Government would pass legislation outlawing JI. Like many Indonesian politicians and police officers, he avoided yesterday even using the term Jemaah Islamiah, which means literally "Islamic community", for fear of offending the country's majority Muslim population.
In Sydney, Opposition Leader Mark Latham said he would press the case in diplomatic channels to outlaw Jemaah Islamiah if he were elected prime minister. "In terms of telling another what to do, my rule is that, just as we don't like other nations telling us what to do, we have to have due sensitivity and diplomacy in place to handle those matters," he said. "And we'd do it through the proper channels and make our viewpoint known."
Western governments have long pushed for Indonesia to follow the lead of the UN Security Council and list JI as a terrorist organisation to give police more power to arrest its members. But the Government, and presidential candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have consistently refused to ban JI. Mr Sabarno made his remarks after a crisis security meeting, held on a national religious holiday, attended by top police and President Megawati Soekarnoputri.
The meeting, before today's opening of the three-day formal election campaign period for Monday's presidential elections, was called to devise a strategy to avoid another attack, which police warn is inevitable. Malaysia, meanwhile, is hunting militants who may have had a hand in last week's Jakarta bombing, thought to have been masterminded by a fugitive Malaysian bomb-making expert.
Defence Minister Najib Razak said yesterday that he would not be surprised if Islamic radicals already on Malaysia's most-wanted list were involved in Thursday's suicide bombing, which killed nine people outside the Australian embassy in the Indonesia capital. "There are individuals we are looking to apprehend," Mr Najib said in an interview. He declined to say how many.
"They are strong members of Jemaah Islamiah. We have strong reasons to believe that they have been involved in previous incidents. Therefore, it would not come as a surprise to us if they are involved in the recent event." Indonesian police suspect JI, which they believe to be the regional arm of al-Qaeda, carried out the bombing, which also wounded 182 people.
They blame JI for the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, and also the suicide bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta last year, in which 12 died. Indonesia's key suspect is Azahari Husin, an expert bomb maker and JI member from Malaysia. Police suspect he made the bombs used in the two previous blasts. Azahari and another Malaysian JI member, Noor din Mohammed Top, are reported in local media to have been in hiding in Indonesia.



Posted in Terrorism @ 14 September 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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