Bali bombers to appeal convictions in an attempt to avoid firing squad
July 4, 2006
Bali bombers trio to appeal convictions
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent
July 05, 2006
THE three Bali bombers on death row will appeal their convictions in an attempt to avoid an Indonesian firing squad, angering the families of Australian victims.
Their appeal will be based on the fact that the anti-terrorism legislation used to convict them of the October 2002 bombings that killed 202 people was enacted after the attacks, lawyer Wirawan Adnan told The Australian yesterday.
Imam Samudra, 36, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, 43, and Ali Ghufron, alias Mukhlas, 46, have already said they do not want a presidential pardon for their crimes.
But Mr Adnan said the planned application for a judicial review had "no connection" with their guilt or otherwise.
"Even criminals deserve justice. So they must be tried under the criminal code, not under the anti-terrorism legislation," Mr Adnan said. "We have already received the power of attorney from our clients to lodge the review.
"They themselves (the bombers) have requested this. If the review is accepted, there will be a new verdict in a new case."
Peter Iliffe, whose 28-year-old son Joshua was among the 88 Australians killed in the bombings, said he was shocked by the turnaround.
"Rotten bastards. So much for their mouthing-off initially - they're just cowards," Mr Iliffe said. "This is just unbelievable, and we go on kowtowing."
Mr Iliffe said he would like to see Australia try to state a case on behalf of victims. "Certainly, Foreign Affairs should do something about it. I think (John) Howard should comment as well," he said.
"I'm just shocked for all the mouthing-off those mongrels did. They're just bloody gutless cowards. It shows what brave fellas these terrorists are - at least they could have the courage of their convictions."
Mr Adnan conceded that the men could still be sentenced to death under the criminal code.
It was widely expected that the three men would not appeal, even though Indonesia's constitutional court ruled in 2003 that its enabling of retroactive legislation specifically to try the three had been illegal. That ruling was in a suit brought by Mr Adnan separately to the bombers' actual trials.
"We've been telling the court all along that they can't use this retroactive legislation, but no one has listened to us," Mr Adnan said.
"We've been thinking about lodging this review for a long time."
Indonesian Attorney-General Abdul Rahman Saleh said this week he expected the three men to be executed on the remote prison island of Nusakambangan off southern Java, where they are now housed, rather than in Bali, where they committed their crimes.
The three had previously been sharing space in Bali's Kerobokan jail with Australians Schapelle Corby, the Bali Nine heroin smuggling gang and, for a short time, model Michelle Leslie, who was arrested for possessing ecstasy. The bombers were moved to Nusakambangan in October on security grounds.
In Denpasar last night, an Islamic militant on trial for last year's bombings on the island admitted to meeting the alleged organiser of the attacks and withholding information from police - but said he did so only after being brainwashed.
Abdul Azis, 30, told Denpasar District Court he met Malaysian terror fugitive Noordin Mohammed Top 10 times in the months leading to the October suicide bombings that killed 20 people.
"I do not agree with suicide bombing or fighting against other religions," he said, adding that he did not go to police, because of Noordin's persuasive powers.
"Maybe he was using black magic. He has an extraordinary charisma."
Additional reporting: AP