Indonesia | Terrorists Attack Bali Nightclub
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Terrorists Attack Bali Nightclub
A terrorist bombing on Oct. 12, 2002, at a nightclub in Bali killed more than 200 people, mostly tourists. In 2003, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Imam Samudra, members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda, were sentenced to death for their roles in the bombing. But the radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, believed to be the head of Jemaah Islamiyah, was only given a light three-year sentence on lesser charges, causing some in the international community to question Indonesia's commitment to fighting terrorism. Authorities arrested Bashir in April 2004—on the same day he was set to be released from prison—claiming they had new evidence that proved he is in fact the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah and that he approved the Bali bombing. In March 2005, he was found not guilty of terrorism charges in the bombings of Jakarta's Marriott Hotel in 2003 and the Bali nightclub. He was, however, convicted of a lesser charge—criminal conspiracy. That charge was overturned in Dec. 2006.
In May 2003, President Megawati declared military rule in Aceh and launched an offensive intended to destroy the Free Aceh Movement. The invasion marked the end of a cease-fire that was signed in Dec. 2002 between the Indonesian government and Aceh separatists. The government and the separatists signed a peace treaty in Aug. 2005, ending the 30-year war that had claimed the lives of 15,000 people. The Acehnese agreed to give up their demand for independence in exchange for the right to establish political parties. The separatists disbanded their army in December, finalizing the end to their insurgency.
Megawati's PDI-P Party fared poorly in April 2004 elections, placing second behind the Golkar Party of former president Suharto. In July, retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono placed first in the country's inaugural direct presidential elections, but he did not garner enough votes to win outright. However, he soundly defeated Megawati in the September runoff.