Tue, 15 Jul 2003

Amrozi admits bringing explosives to Bali but denies role in blasts

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

The prime suspect of the Bali bombings, Amrozi, testified on Monday that he transported a vast amount of chemical substances to the resort island, but denied that the blasts that killed 202 people last October were the work of him and his group.

Reading from his 18-page defense plea before the court here, Amrozi said he delivered 600 kilograms of KCLO3 potassium chlorate mixture from his hometown in Lamongan, but doubted it could cause massive destruction.

"Up to now, I still doubt whether the huge explosion that killed so many people was caused by all the chemical substances of the bomb from our car," Amrozi told the court.

He accused the United States and Israel of making him a scapegoat for the incident, in which two almost simultaneous blasts ripped through the Sari Club and Paddy's pub in the island's main tourist area, Kuta.

Amrozi said he believed that when his L-300 Mitsubishi van passed along Jl. Legian in Kuta, American and Israeli agents managed to detect it. And that when his van arrived at a certain point of the street, they immediately targeted it.

He said he remained uncertain whether the L-300 van carried the deadly bomb as there was no precise data or information that proved his van was the source of the bombs.

Two days after the bombings, the police's forensic laboratory discovered remains of the L-300 van and a piece of metal bearing its engine number. Amrozi, however, strongly denied the validity of the findings.

He said he was certain he had removed the engine number and it was therefore impossible that the police could still find it.

"It was strange to see the judges trying to show a piece of steel that could reveal the engine number. This item was still in good condition. There wasn't even a scratch on the steel," Amrozi wondered out loud.

In their defense argument, Amrozi's lawyers Ahmad Wirawan Adnan and Ahmad Mihdan said only four out of the 58 witnesses presented by the prosecutors had any direct link to the suspect. They were Hernianto, Imam Samudra, Ali Imron and Utomo Pamungkas alias Mubarok.

The lawyers said none of the witnesses testified that Amrozi was a bombmaker, planner or the executor.

"The prosecutors' accusation that the defendant was the mastermind of the bombing is groundless," Adnan said.

Quoting media reports and observation at the blast site, Amrozi's lawyers said the explosion originated from two different types of bombs. Articles they referred to were written by Abdul Mu'in Idris, a forensic expert from the University of Indonesia's School of Medicine, Z.A. Maulani and Australian writer Joe Vials (Terrorist Lookalike Attack).

The lawyers concluded that the first explosion was caused by a low-explosive bomb with the detonation power of below 3,000 per second. This bomb was a modest and locally made one, which contained chlorate. Meanwhile, the second bomb was highly explosive with a detonation speed of above 3,000 per second, similar to RDX and C4. These kinds of bombs have a similar impact to 300 kilograms of TNT.

"This type of bomb was manufactured in a sophisticate factory, which doesn't exist in Indonesia," said Adnan.

The judge adjourned the trial until Thursday, when the court will hear the prosecutors' response to Amrozi's defense plea.

In another courtroom during the trial of suspect Ali Gufron alias Mukhlas, the prosecutor could only present one out of three witnesses demanded. Imam Samudra was presented as the lone witness. Other witnesses were to include Kuning Atmadja and Wan Min Wan Mat, but they failed to appear at the court.

During the trial, the prosecutor had asked the judges for permission to use video conference to hear the testimony of businessmen Wan Min Wan Mat, who is in Malaysia.

The suspect's lawyers strongly objected to the idea, while the judge will announce his decision on the matter on Wednesday.