Sun, 11 May 2003

Widows want death sentences for all October 12 bombers

Wahyoe Boediwardhana and I Wayan Juniartha, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

The trial of the first Bali bomb suspect on Monday has revived the memories of those people whose husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and friends were killed in the horrible terror attacks exactly seven months ago.

Four widows of the bomb victims hope to avenge their slain husbands through the verdict. Others are more composed and trust the judges to uphold justice.

Wayan Rastini, whose husband Ketut Nana Wijaya was killed in the blasts, urged that the capital sentence be handed down to Amrozi, who is charged with purchasing and handling the materials used in the bombs.

The trial of Amrozi, one of the 33 suspects in the Oct. 12, 2002 bomb attack, is to open on Monday.

"Life imprisonment is not punishment enough for what he and his friends have done," Rastini said emotionally.

"In fact, there is no punishment that we consider adequate. Will any sentence bring our husbands back?" said Luh Erniati, the widow of Gede Badrawan.

The four widows -- Rastini, Erniati, Ketut Jontri and Warti -- are united in their belief that Amrozi deserves to be executed, but they are split in how the death sentence should be carried out.

"He should be hung in the city square, where people can take turns torturing him," said Jontri, who lost her husband Ketut Cindra.

"We should burn him alive so he will feel the pain that our husbands felt," Erniati said.

They offered no chance for redemption to the suspects of the blasts that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

"There is no mercy for them. No matter how much they might suffer in the future, I will never, ever, forgive them," Warti said, her face stiffening.

Erniati said she could not understand why Amrozi showed no regret, although he faced a maximum sentence of death.

"I hate Amrozi particularly, because he still smiles to the media after his brutal act of violence," she said.

However, not all the families and friends of the victims were as bitter and vengeful as the widows.

Johan Duka, 37, said that he harbored no hatred toward the suspects.

"I did not hate them before, and I do not hate them now. There is no hatred or anger in my heart," he asserted.

Johan was standing only 10 meters from the center of the explosion outside the Sari Club. The blast severely injured him and instantly killed his brother Tata Yanto Rusli Duka, a bouncer at the Sari Club. Johan spent the next two months in a hospital bed.

"After the tragedy, I spent more and more time to bring myself closer to the Lord. Since last month, I have been blessed with the ability to heal people through prayer," he said.

He said he had left all matters concerning the punishment of the terror suspects in the hands of God, and that he had no intention to go to the trial venue -- nor will he follow the trial on television.

"I have more important things to do. I have to pray for a lot of people that day," he said.

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika has called on people to watch the trial on TV, fearing that they might lose their self-control if they were in the same room as the suspects.

Lawyers representing the suspects had called for the trial to be moved from Bali, but the request was denied.