x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bali bomb plotters executed

Three militants are executed for helping plan and carry out the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead.

A view of the levelled Sari Club in Kuta, Bali in this Oct 17 2002.
A view of the levelled Sari Club in Kuta, Bali in this Oct 17 2002.

CILACAP, INDONESIA // Three militants were executed late yesterday for helping plan and carry out the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead, many of them foreign tourists, lawyers and relatives said. Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim, and Ali Ghufron were executed just before midnight several kilometres from their high security prison on Nusakambangan island, said Qadar Faisal, one of their attorneys.

Their bodies will be taken by helicopter to their home villages for burial, he said. The Oct 12 2002 attacks - allegedly funded by al Qa'eda and carried out by members of the South-east Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah - thrust Indonesia onto the front lines in the war on terrorism. One suicide bomber walked into Paddy's nightclub on a busy Saturday night, setting off a bomb attached to his vest.

Minutes later, a larger car bomb exploded outside the nearby Sari Club. The victims - most of whom were revellers fleeing the first blast - included 88 Australians, 28 Britons and eight Americans. Samudra, Nurhasyim and Ghufron confessed to helping plan and carry out the attacks, but never expressed remorse, even taunting relatives of victims at their trial. They said the bombings were meant to avenge Muslims killed in US-led wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere and publicly expressed hope their own deaths would trigger revenge attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The capital Jakarta has been on high alert, with extra police deployed at embassies, shopping malls and offices, but most analysts expect any reaction to be small and limited to demonstrations, bomb hoaxes and shows of solidarity at the men's' funerals. "But everyone should be extra vigilant, at least for the next week," said Ken Conboy, a Jakarta-based security expert, noting that even small, peaceful rallies "can quickly spin out of control."

Though the three Bali bombers said they were happy to die martyrs, their lawyers fought for years to stop their executions, arguing they were convicted retroactively on antiterrorism laws. They also opposed death by firing squad, saying their clients preferred being beheaded because that was more "humane". Mohamad Chozin, a brother of Nurhasyim and Ghufron, was among those who confirmed that they had received news the men had been executed.

"The bodies will be take to our mother's house," he said in their home village of Tenggulun. * AP