Sun, 05 Jan 2003

Pray for America's destruction: Abdul Aziz aka Samudra

I Wayan Juniartha, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Imam Samudra, the alleged mastermind of the Bali bombings, reiterated his anti-U.S. sentiments here on Saturday during the reenactment of meetings allegedly held to plan the bomb attacks that killed over 190 people last October.

"Pray for America's destruction," he shouted, raising his fists on the sidelines of the reconstruction held at the Bali Police Headquarters in Denpasar.

As a police officer gave him some rice during a break, a handcuffed Samudra suddenly leaned out of a Suzuki Carry minivan parked there and made a V sign with his hands.

"The war is not over yet. Islam must win and America must be defeated," he yelled to journalists, who were watching the reenactment process from about 100 meters away.

Samudra made similar anti-Western outbursts when police transferred him from Jakarta to Bali last month. Other bombing suspects have said the deadly Bali attack was aimed at killing as many Americans as possible.

Four other suspects in the Oct. 12 bombings -- Abdul Rauf, Andi Hidayat, Andri Octavia and Junaidi -- were involved in reconstructing three meetings, allegedly to plan the blasts.

According to police, the first meeting took place at a house rented by Heri Hafidin, a suspected recruiter in Samudra's network, in the West Java capital of Bandung. Heri is still at large.

The second was held inside a red Suzuki Carry minivan parked outside the Kampung Rambutan bus terminal in East Jakarta, while the third took place at a house rented by Idris, another suspect who also remains at large, in the Central Java town of Solo.

Curiously, the reenactment of those meetings was not carried out at their actual locations, but at the Bali Police detectives division building and a parking lot there.

"There is no law or regulation requiring a reconstruction to be held at the actual place of an event. Besides, we would have been concerned about security, should the suspects have reenacted the meetings at the original places," Bali Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Yatim Suyatmo argued.

"Moreover, the place is actually not that important. What the suspects do and the interaction between them during the reconstruction are much more significant," he added.

Samudra's chief lawyer Qadhar Faisal refuted Suyatmo's statements however, saying that, based on the Criminal Code, any reenactment had to be carried out at the original crime scene.

"Otherwise a reconstruction could be considered unlawful," Qadhar said.

He acknowledged the police had not notified Samudra's lawyers about the reconstruction. "We arrived when the reconstruction was about to conclude. As we had received no notification beforehand, our presence there was unofficial in nature," Qadhar said.

Sr. Comr. Suherto of the National Police Headquarters led Saturday's reenactment, which involved at least 15 investigators. It was tightly guarded by around 60 anti-riot police officers.

Suyatmo added the first meeting in Bandung had discussed the successful robbery of the Elita gold shop in the Banten town of Serang to raise money for the attack. The robbery took place in late August 2002.

During the second meeting at the Kampung Rambutan bus terminal, he said Abdul Rauf handed a bag, containing an FN pistol, Rp 5 million (US$561) and 2.3 kilograms of gold, to Samudra.

Andri Octavia, Andi Hidayat and Idris participated in the meeting, Suyatmo added.

At the third meeting, held in Solo, Samudra allegedly gave Rp 36.5 million in cash, as well as an FN pistol and a revolver to Andi Hidayat and Andri Octavia.

"He (Samudra) told Andri to deliver the money and the handguns to Abdul Rauf to be used in the cause of jihad," Suyatmo said.

It was reported earlier that the Samudra-led group held four meetings at the Solo house.

"The reconstruction went smoothly. On one or two occasions Samudra could not recall events, but the other suspects quickly reminded him," Suyatmo said.

Samudra and other suspects, including Amrozi, were involved in reenactments last month in Solo and the East Java town of Lamongan, where the suspected bombers had allegedly met and bought bomb-making materials.

Police have linked Samudra and other key suspects with the regional Jamaah Islamiyah terror group.

Only 15 of the 26 suspects are being detained at Bali Police Headquarters for their role in the Bali blasts. The rest are still at large.

Police are scheduled to submit the dossiers of Amrozi to prosecutors on Monday. Trials could begin as soon as February.