Fri, 06 Jun 2003

Witnesses tell of Amrozi's chemical purchases

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

More witnesses provided on Thursday evidence pointing to Amrozi's key role in last year's Bali bombings, saying the defendant purchased materials for the explosives that killed over 200 people.

Two employees of Surabaya-based Tidar Kimia chemical shop testified that Amrozi purchased a large quantity of chemical materials on three separate occasions ahead of the bombings in Bali.

Supomo, 36, and Fauzi, 26, told the court they both served the defendant during his visits to the store. The defendant bought a total of 2,000 kilograms of potassium chlorate, the base compound used in firecrackers, sparklers and fireworks, and 50 kilograms of aluminum powder. Amrozi also purchased sulfur, but the witnesses could not give the exact quantity.

"He (Amrozi) bought 20 bags of potassium chlorate on the first visit. Later on, he bought another 20 bags and finally 40 bags. Each bag weighed around 25 kilograms," Supomo said.

He said he helped Amrozi carry 80 kilograms of the chemical and loaded them into the defendant's Mitsubishi L-300 minivan.

Police investigators found residues of potassium chlorate, TNT, RDX and PETN at the site of the Sari Club, where the most devastating of the three bombs of Oct. 12, 2002 exploded.

Previously, suspect Ali Imron confessed before police interrogators that potassium chlorate was the primary substance used in the bombs.

Both Supomo and Fauzi said they were unaware of Amrozi's intentions for the bulk purchase of potassium chlorate. They were also unaware that their employer Sylvester Tendean had registered the sale as benzoate on the invoice.

Sylvester was sentenced to seven months in prison by the Surabaya District Court for falsifying the invoice.

A total of eight witnesses testified on Thursday before the court. The trial was adjourned until Monday, when more witnesses would be called.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors in the trial of suspected field commander Abdul Aziz, alias Imam Samudra, rejected the defendant's argument against the retroactive principle applied in his case.

Prosecutors insisted that the retroactivity of the Law on Terrorism was applicable, as the crime with which Samudra was being charged was extraordinary and categorized as a crime against humanity.

"In this case, the retroactivity of the Law on Terrorism is valid in order to fulfill the public's demand for justice," prosecutor Putu Supartha Jaya told the court.

He also dismissed the defense's objection that the Denpasar District Court had no authority to try Samudra on the Batam bombing nor on the robbery of the jewelry shop in Serang, West Java.

"The Minister of Justice and Human Rights has officially authorized this court to do so," he said.

In another related trial, defendants Rauf, Junaedi, Andi Hidayat and Andri Octavia also objected to the use of retroactivity in their trial and questioned the authority of the court.

"The crime took place in Serang, so this court has no authority to try the case," defense lawyer Bayu Srijaya told the court.

The four defendants, known as members of the Serang Group, are charged with deliberately raising or providing funds for terrorist activities. They are also accused of robbing the Elita jewelry shop in Serang in August 2002.

The Bali Police moved on Thursday 23 suspects in the Bali bombing case to Kerobokan penitentiary as the renovation of the building had been completed. Previously, the suspects had been detained at police stations in Denpasar, Tabanan, Gianyar, Mengwi and Tohpati.

Key suspects Amrozi, Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron and Ali Imron are to remain in the custody of Bali Police headquarters for security reasons.