Tue, 22 Jul 2003

Prosecutors demand death for Ali Imron, Amrozi awaits verdict

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

The fourth suspect in the Bali bombings, Ali Imron, alias Alik, began his trial on Monday with charges of involvement in the planning and execution of the blasts.

Looking nervous, Imron listened to prosecutor I Gusti Putu Sulaba demanding the death sentence for the defendant for his alleged role in the attacks that claimed 202 people last October.

In their indictment, the prosecutors said that Imron was involved in a series of meetings at his home village of Tenggulun, Lamongan, East Java, as well as Surakarta, Central Java. Those meetings, according to the prosecutors, preceded the bombings in the popular tourist resort area of Kuta.

Imron was also charged with placing a bomb near the Consulate of the United States in the opulent Renon housing and office complex in the downtown area of Bali's capital, Denpasar, on the night of the Oct. 12, 2002, attacks. Imron was also believed to have driven the L-300 minivan that carried the most lethal bomb, which exploded in front of Sari Club, to an intersection on Jl. Legian, Kuta.

The prosecutors accused Imron of taking part in assembling bombs using a variety of dangerous chemical substances in a rented house on Jl. Pulau Menjangan, Denpasar, prior to the terror attacks.

Unlike the other suspects on trial, Imron, the younger brother of fellow defendants Amrozi and Ali Gufron, alias Mukhlas, had a neat appearance during the hearing at the Nari Graha building. He appeared in a formal and fashionable brown suit, complete with ironed blue shirt and floral red tie. Imron also wore shiny, black shoes.

Other defendants often appeared wearing traditional koko (Muslim shirts) and slippers at hearings.

In a bizarre move, Imron's defense team said they would not present any defense argument for their client.

Head of the lawyers Suyanto said he had discussed the matter with the defendant and decided not to present a rebuttal statement "to save time."

According to the lawyer, if they (the lawyers) did not respond to the charges the trial could immediately move to hearing witness testimonies.

When asked from where Imron had acquired the suit, Suyanto said the lawyers had not given it to him.

Imron was apologetic for his involvement in the Bali bombings. Shortly after the police arrested him and the other 29 directly and indirectly involved in the bombing, Imron called a news conference expressing his deep regret at what he and his brothers had caused to the victims and their families.

Muhammad Salim, spokesman for the Bali Prosecutor's Office, said that it was prosecutors who had provided Imron's formal clothes.

"We don't have any hidden intention in giving him that outfit. We also offered the same to Amrozi. We could offer them to anyone (the suspects)," Salim explained.

He said it was the right of Imron's lawyers not to present a defense argument. "They probably realize that the judges will likely reject their defense statements," Salim speculated.

Presiding judge Mulyani adjourned the trial to Wednesday next week to hear witness testimonies.

In the second trial, Amrozi, who faces the death sentence, decided not to take up the opportunity to present his rebuttal. He told the court he had made such an important decision after performing an Istiqarah prayer (to ask for divine guidance).

"I'm really afraid that if I were to give a statement in my defense, hypocritical and fasik (misguided) people, as well as the prosecutors, would happily claim that I was scared of death," Amrozi told the trial, presided over by judge I Made Karna Parna.

Meanwhile, Amrozi's lawyer Ahmad Wirawan Adnan confirmed that the team of prosecutors was unable to utilize any of its legal arguments.

"We are very convinced that the defendant was not the planner of the bombing. All the charges are difficult to prove," Wirawan told the court.

The lawyer, however, conceded that the defendant was involved in procuring and transporting the explosive materials and providing the L-300 minivan, but prosecutors could not prove that the car belonged to his client.

The trial will resume on Aug. 7, when the judges will issue their verdict.