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Bali Attack Mastermind Sentenced to Death - 2003-09-10

A court in Indonesia has found a 33-year-old computer programmer to be the mastermind behind last October's Bali bombing and sentenced him to death. The convicted man, Imam Samudra, maintained his defiance to the end.

Abdul Aziz, better known as Imam Samudra, was found guilty Wednesday on four charges of planning and carrying out the devastating blasts that killed 202 people on the island of Bali last October, most of them young Western tourists.

Throughout his trial, Samudra showed no remorse for his actions. He told the court he was happy so many Westerners had died, although he regretted the deaths of 38 Indonesians.

He explained that killing what he described as "infidels from the oppressing nations" was his duty as a Muslim.

On Wednesday, even in the face of a death sentence, Samudra's attitude did not change.

As Judge Wayan Sugawa read out the death sentence, the defendant pumped his fist in the air and shouted, in Arabic, "God is Greatest."

His lawyers said he would appeal the verdict.

Samudra, a 33-year-old computer engineer, denied that he was the field commander for the attack, but admitted that he was involved in the plot as an advisor.

He is the second defendant to be sentenced in connection with the bombings. The man who bought the explosives and van used in the bombing, a mechanic named Amrozi, has already been sentenced to death.

Police say that Samudra, Amrozi and the rest of the gang behind the Bali bombings are members of the militant Muslim group Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terrorist organization alleged to be affiliated with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.

The Indonesian police have arrested a total of 36 people in connection with the Bali bombings, but two of the most dangerous suspects, the alleged bomb makers, Dr. Azahari Husin and Dulmatin, are still at large.