Sat, 04 Jan 2003

Lawyers claim paltry evidence against Amrozi

I Wayan Juniartha, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Lawyers for Amrozi, a key suspect in the Bali bombings, claimed on Friday that police investigators had insufficient evidence in his dossier to build a strong case against their client.

"There were too many holes and weaknesses in Amrozi's case file. This will surely give us an advantage in his upcoming trial," Muhammad Sya'af, a spokesman for the lawyers, told The Jakarta Post by phone from Surabaya, East Java.

Amrozi will be the first suspect whose dossier will be submitted to state prosecutors on Monday, according to the police.

He was arrested less than one month in his hometown of Lamongan, East Java, after the Oct. 12 bombings that killed more than 190 people and injured some 300 others, mostly foreigners.

The police named him as one of the four prime suspects for his role in providing logistic supplies for the devastating blasts, including purchasing bomb-making materials and an L-300 minivan used in the attack.

Sya'af and Amrozi's chief lawyer Suyanto will fly to Bali on Saturday to re-examine their client's legal dossier before it is filed with prosecutors.

Sya'af said Amrozi had signed his case file late last month in the lawyers' presence.

He declined to provide details on what he claimed to be the weaknesses in Amrozi's case file. However, he said one of the major flaws concerned the potassium chlorate Amrozi had bought in great quantity from a chemical shop in Surabaya, East Java.

"Such a chemical substance is widely used in rural areas in Java as a fertilizer. Edward Aritonang (spokesman for the joint police investigative team) once said that if potassium chlorate was mixed in a precise amount with other ingredients, it could become a dangerous and powerful explosive.

"Well, according to such a way of thinking, a simple writing pen could surely become a dangerous explosive if it was mixed with, let's say, RDX, couldn't it?" Sya'af asked rhetorically.

"The real question here is whether Amrozi has the knowledge and capability to make such explosives, and whether the police have enough material evidence to prove this," he added.

The lawyer said he believed the available evidence against Amrozi and other suspects was inadequate, since the investigators had failed to explain the source of extremely high explosives, such as RDX and HMX, which were discovered at the blast site.

Imam Samudra, the alleged mastermind behind the attack, has confessed that he used only TNT to bomb Paddy's Cafe and the Sari Club, and denied any knowledge of RDX.

Sya'af confirmed Amrozi had confessed to a lot of things to the investigators with regards his role in the bombings, but countered by saying that a suspect's confessions could not automatically be considered as legal evidence before the court.

"A confession is one thing, but providing evidence that substantiates the confession is much more important," Sya'af said.

Meanwhile, a source close to the investigation claimed that police had found several pieces of evidence with which to charge Amrozi, including: several documents; passenger seats of the L- 300 minivan, license plate DK 1324 BS; a white Toyota Crown sedan, license plate G 8288 B; a green Suzuki Vitara, license plate L 731 GB; a red Yamaha F1-ZR motorbike, license plate DK 5228 PE; a purchase receipt for potassium chlorate; and a VCD entitled Perang Salib Baru (The New Crusade).

"The vehicles were connected either with the execution of the bombings or with their planning. We have found residues of explosives materials in some of the vehicles and at the places where Amrozi stayed during his visit to Bali," the source said.

The police have also found written statements from numerous witnesses from East Java and Bali, who could positively identify and establish Amrozi's links to both the vehicles and the chemical substances.

"He could deny all his confessions at the trial, but we will nail him with evidence and testimony from eyewitnesses," the source added.