Wed, 07 May 2003

Lawyers to exploit loopholes on Amrozi's case

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Key Bali bombing suspect Ali Gufron has named his sixth child after Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., defense lawyer Achmad Mihdan said Tuesday.

Achmad, a member of the Muslim Lawyers Team (TPM), said they delivered a letter from Gufron's wife Farida asking Gufron to give their newly born baby boy a name, during a visit to Bali Police Headquarters.

"He named his some Usama, apparently after Osama bin Laden," Achmad said.

During the visit Imam Samudra, the alleged mastermind of the horrific Bali attacks, which killed more than 200 people in October last year, reminded the lawyers to praise God every time they conducted their job.

"Remember to shout loudly Takbir, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar," Imam yelled with a clenched hand.

The TPM claimed it had found at least five inaccuracies in the indictment of suspect Amrozi, whose trial begins next week. Amrozi fired his lawyer last week and on Tuesday handed his indictment to the TPM, which is now acting for him.

"These innacuracies will be the focus of our defense in the upcoming trial," TPM coordinator Mahendradatta said after the visit.

Amrozi is the first of 33 suspects to be tried in connection to the devastating Bali bombing. The lawyers said one week was enough to prepare for Amrozi's trial.

"The innacuracies concern several facts and events described by the public prosecutors in the dossier. Our client informed us that those things were either untrue or had been misrepresented by the prosecutors," Mahendradatta said after reading the 33-page indictment.

Citing an example, Mahendradatta said several meetings prior to the bomb attacks between Amrozi and his friends in various places had been inaccurately described by the prosecutors as gatherings to finalize the bombing plan.

"In fact, at the meetings nothing was discussed about the bombing. We will present to the judges what was really discussed by our client during all of the meetings," Mahendradatta said without elaborating.

He said the indictment also described in great detail a meeting that did not take place at all.

"That's why the reconstruction of that meeting was a bit chaotic."

Due to the loopholes, the lawyers believed their client had a chance of walking free.

"Purely from a legal perspective, the chance still exists. But things will end up differently, and we won't be able to do anything if the case has become a medium through which the government wants to show it's political will," he said.

The lawyers were not asked what part of the indictment was true.

During the two-hour visit, Mahendradatta and fellow TPM members Achmad, Made Rahman Marassabesy and Achmad Kholid spoke to other key suspects.

Newly-installed Bali Police chief and the former chief of the Bali bombing joint inquiry team, Insp. Gen. Made Mangku Pastika, refused to comment on the lawyers' statement.

"They can say whatever they want. The most important thing here is that we have conducted the investigation in accordance with the facts found in the field. Moreover, the investigation has been substantiated by both physical evidence and witness testimonies."