Fri, 18 Jul 2003

Amrozi gives death sentence demand a thumbs-down

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Key Bali bombing suspect Amrozi continued to express indifference at his trial that could send him before a firing squad.

The defendant, nicknamed the "smiling bomber", made a thumbs- down gesture and grinned broadly before prosecutor Erna Normawati, whose team maintained, in their rebuttal of Amrozi's defense argument, their demand for the death sentence.

Erna said Amrozi gave the signal while being escorted from the courtroom at the Nari Graha building to a waiting armored vehicle that would take him back to his cell.

"He was passing in front of me when he started grinning widely and turned his right hand counterclockwise so that his thumb pointed downward," she said.

He expressed apathy earlier while Erna read out the 16-page prosecutors' rebuttal. They asked the judges to reject the entire defense argument presented by the defendant's lawyers.

The prosecutors reiterated that the judges fulfill the capital punishment demand for Amrozi, who is being charged with planning, organizing and executing the Bali bombings on Oct. 12, 2002, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

In their response, the prosecutors also attacked the defense lawyers, accusing them of over-zealously "fabricating a flawed defense filled with nonsense and careless legal interpretations."

Both Amrozi and his top lawyer, Ahmad Wirawan Adnan, repeatedly smiled at the prosecutors' words. Citing an analysis from a former intelligence official, the lawyers said in their client's defense that a third party might have carried out the bombings.

Erna stressed that the defendant's activities prior to the bombings proved that the attacks were premeditated and well- planned.

"Was it possible to carry out a bombing, which involved many perpetrators, without prior planning? We believe that it was impossible, because there would have been so many things that needed synchronizing in such an operation," Erna said.

The perpetrators would have to agree on the target, timing, funding sources and executors, Erna added. Such an agreement could only have been reached through meetings.

Previously, although admitting to have bought the explosive materials and the L-300 minivan, which were later used in the attacks, Amrozi vehemently denied that a number of preparations were made.

His lawyers also insisted that Amrozi was not the brains behind the bombings, the deadliest since the terror attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

One of the defense lawyers, Ahmad Wirawan Adnan, asked the judges for a chance to deliver an oral response to prosecutors but was turned down by presiding judge I Made Karna Parna. Instead, the judge gave the lawyers three days to draft their written response, which would be read out during the next hearing on July 21.

Meanwhile, Amrozi demanded more lawyers and more time to consult with them.

"All this time I have only been given 10 minutes to meet and discuss the case with my lawyers. Sometimes, the allocated time had run out before I even had a chance to express what was in my mind and engage my lawyers in discussion. I asked you to provide me with more time; some 20 to 30 minutes would have been sufficient for us," Amrozi said.

The judges said they would take the request into consideration.

Separately, Bali Prosecutor's Office spokesman Muhammad Salim said Amrozi's trial was expected to be completed by the end of this month.

"There will be at least three more sessions, so by the end of this month, the judges, hopefully, will hand down the verdict," he said.