Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Bali bombers file appeals with SC

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Six convicted Bali bombers, including the mastermind of the bombings Abdul Aziz alias Imam Samudra, have appealed to the Supreme Court, their lawyer said on Thursday.

"We submitted the appeal motions on behalf of Imam Samudra, Abdul Rauf, Junaedi, Andi Hidayat, Bambang Setiono and Musyafak," Qadhar Faisal Ruskanda of the Muslim Lawyers Team (TPM) said.

The Bali High Court in November upheld the convicted terrorists' sentences. Samudra was sentenced to death for his role in the terror attacks on Oct. 12, 2002, which killed 202 people. The other five convicted terrorists were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four to 16 years.

"The High Court's verdicts really disappointed us because the presiding judges failed to take our defense into consideration. We will mention this failure and the police's repression against our clients in our defense at the Supreme Court hearings," Qadhar said.

The Supreme Court is the country's highest judicial institution. If it rejects Samudra's appeal, he still can request a review of his case and ask for the President's mercy to evade the firing squad.

Another convict on death row, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, had already filed his appeal motion to the Supreme Court in September.

Currently, Qadhar said, the Bali High Court is still examining the appeal motions of eight more convicted terrorists, including of Ali Gufron alias Muklas, the alleged regional leader of the Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), the group also blamed for the JW Marriot Hotel Jakarta bombing on Oct. 5.

The Denpasar Distric Court has sentenced 29 suspects in the Bali blasts, with four other suspects still on trial.

Earlier in the morning, Samudra refused to testify in the trial of Heri Hafidin, who is charged with "assisting and harboring known and wanted terrorists."

Police dossiers have indicated that Heri Hafidin helped Samudra and his family rent a house in Serang, Banten.

While being escorted to the trial room, Samudra expressed his hatred of the U.S. President, George W. Bush.

"Just watch, Bush will soon be destroyed. I have sent 5,000 soldiers down from the sky to destroy him. These soldiers are scattered in Iraq, Turkey, India and other places. God willing, the soldiers of Allah will prevail," he screamed.

Separately, officers at the Krobokan Penitentiary denied Khoiriana Khususiati access to her husband Amrozi, for failing to provide written permission for the visit from the chief of the Denpasar District Court.

An angered Qadhar then went to the court and quarreled with the court's chief I Nengah Suriada for no less than 30 minutes.

"Article 69 and 70 of the Criminal Code clearly state that an inmate has the right to be visited by his lawyer and family at any time. There is no clause on requirement to secure permission from the chief of the district court," Qadhar said.

Finally, Suriada gave up, Khususiati and her two daughters spent a touching one hour with Amrozi.