Tue, 29 Jul 2003

Death sentence sought for Samudra over Bali bombing

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Prosecutors have requested that Imam Samudra, accused of masterminding and financing the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali bombings be sentenced to death.

They argued that the defendant was guilty of planning and financing the terrorist attack in which at least 202 people, mostly foreigners, were killed and more than 320 others injured.

"The defendant Abdul Azis alias Imam Samudra... has been convincingly and legally proven to have jointly planned acts of terrorism... and jointly provided funding for the Bali bombing," chief prosecutor I Nyoman Dilla said at Samudra's trial here on Monday.

In the 301-page submission the prosecutors said that the blasts caused fear among the public and the loss of international trust in Indonesian security.

Previously, government prosecutors demanded a similar penalty for Amrozy bin Nurhasyim.

The prosecutors further said the defendant should also be punished for possessing illegal explosives.

"The defendant should be sentenced to two death penalties and 15 years of imprisonment. However, since such punishments do not exist in our legal system then we will seek the death penalty for the primary charge of planning and organizing the bombing only," Nyoman told the court.

Upon hearing the prosecutors' request, the defendant remained calm while several observers softly applauded.

Samudra discussed the sentence request with his chief lawyer Qadhar Faisal. Both agreed to present the judges with a new defense at the next hearing on Monday Aug, 11.

A survivor of the bombing watching the trial stood up to wave an Australian flag as Samudra was escorted from the building.

"I am satisfied with the prosecutors's performance. They have listened to the hopes of the victims and addressed their psychological pain," 35 year-old Jan Laczynski said.

Jan, who wore a white polo shirt emblazoned with "Sari Club", the name of the popular night spot that was leveled to the ground by the bombing, was among 18 foreigners who attended the trial.

Samudra has denied that he chose Bali as the location of the bombing but he admitted he was disgusted by the behavior of foreign tourists there.

"I saw bules (white people) doing vicious things, drinking and adulterous activities," he said earlier this month. "I felt extremely disgusted."

Samudra, who spent three years in Afghanistan learning warfare skills, also said at the time that he had wanted to die as a martyr since he was in junior high school.

He admitted he ran a web page claiming responsibility for the blasts.

Other key suspects on trial are a man known as Mukhlas, who as JI's operations chief is said to have authorized the Bali attack, and Ali Imron, one of the alleged bomb-makers. Mukhlas, Amrozi and Ali Imron are brothers.