JAKARTA, Indonesia – An Islamic militant convicted in the 2002 Bali bombings was released from prison Thursday and 11 others jailed for minor roles had their sentences reduced to mark Indonesia's independence day, officials said.
It is an Indonesian tradition to cut jail terms on holidays, but the decision was expected to anger countries that lost citizens in the twin nightclub attacks that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.
Family members of some of the victims said they were pained by the news.
Three militants serving time in East Kalimantan's capital of Balikpapan received reductions of four months, paving the way for one, Puryanto, to walk free on Thursday, said Edi, a prison official who uses a single name.
Nine other men imprisoned on Bali island had their sentences cut by four months, said justice ministry official Djoko Bambang Untung.
"This shows that the Indonesians aren't serious about fighting terrorism," said Australian Brian Deegan, who lost his 21-year-old son Josh in the bombings.
Those who will benefit from Thursday's sentence reductions played relatively minor roles in the suicide bombings — from carrying out robberies to financing the attacks to helping shelter the main suspects.
Three militants — Amrozi, Ali Gufron and Imam Samudra — are scheduled to be executed later this month and three others are serving life sentences. Some Indonesians go by just one name.
Jemaah Islamiyah is suspected in several other deadly attacks in Indonesia, including the 2003 and 2004 bombings in the capital, Jakarta, that killed at least 21 people, and an October 2005 attack on Bali that claimed 20 lives.
Some 56,000 prisoners had their sentences cut on Thursday, most by a few months, the country's justice minister said.