By Tatan Syuflana
Sunday, November 9, 2008
CILACAP, Indonesia, Nov. 8 -- Indonesia executed three members of an Islamist militant group Saturday for helping plan and carry out the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists, lawyers and relatives said.
Imam Samudra and brothers Amrozi Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron were executed at 11:20 p.m. several miles from their high-security prison on Nusakambangan island, said Qadar Faisal, one of their attorneys. Their bodies were to be taken by helicopter to their home villages for burial, he said.
The Oct. 12, 2002, twin nightclub attacks -- allegedly funded by al-Qaeda and carried out by members of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah -- thrust Indonesia onto the front lines in the fight against terrorism.
The three men never expressed remorse, saying the suicide bombings were meant to punish the United States and its Western allies for alleged atrocities in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
In recent months, the men had publicly expressed hopes their executions would trigger revenge attacks in Indonesia.
The capital 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 a show 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 attorneys fought for years to stop their executions, arguing they were convicted retroactively on anti-terrorism laws. They also opposed death by firing squad, saying their clients preferred beheadings, because they were more "humane."
Mohamad Chozin, a brother of Nurhasyim and Ghufron, was among those who confirmed that they had received news the men had been killed.
"The bodies will be taken to our mother's house," he said in their home village of Tenggulun.
The three men were among more than 30 people convicted in connection with the bombings.
Jemaah Islamiyah was blamed for at least three other suicide bombings in Indonesia. But the 2002 attack was by far the bloodiest.
One of the attackers 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 dead included 88 Australians, 28 Britons and eight Americans -- most revelers fleeing the first blast.