American terror expert again expelled from Indonesia

By ROBIN MCDOWELL
Associated Press Writer

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia expelled a leading American expert on Southeast Asian terrorist networks for the second time in as many years, officials said Friday. No explanation was immediately given.

Sidney Jones, the project director for the International Crisis Group in Jakarta, was refused entry to the country Thursday on return from a short trip to Taiwan.

"I don't understand," she said from Singapore on Friday. "If there was a problem, you would have thought they would have called me in or raised the question while I was in Jakarta, giving me some ability to respond."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yuri Thamrin confirmed Jones had been barred but gave no reason.

The Brussel-based International Crisis Group opened an office in Indonesia in 2000 and has issued detailed and well-researched reports on separatist conflicts in Indonesia and the activities of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah.

The regional terror group has been blamed for at least four deadly bombings in Indonesia since 2002, including last month's triple suicide attacks on the resort island of Bali that killed 20 people.

Though Jones is frequently interviewed by local and international media, it is not clear what she may have said in recent weeks to anger the government. Since the Oct. 1 attacks, she has been largely complementary about Jakarta's successes in cracking down on terrorists.

Jones was expelled from Indonesia in 2004 under the administration of President Megawati Sukarnoputri for allegedly publishing false reports damaging to the country's image.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government allowed her to return in July, providing her with residence and work visas.

Jones arrived in Jakarta after attending a Time magazine awards ceremony honoring her think tank, and said that she was told upon arrival that an Oct. 7 letter banned her from entry.

The International Crisis Group describes itself an independent, nonprofit organization working to prevent and resolve conflicts. It is funded by foreign governments and private foundations.

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On the Net:
http://www.icg.org.com

GetAP 1.00 -- NOV 25, 2005 14:37:08
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