Accessibility links

Death Sentence Upheld in Bali Bombing Case - 2004-01-07

Indonesia's Supreme Court has affirmed the death sentence for one of the men convicted in the terrorist bombing on Bali in 2002. The man's only hope of avoiding the firing squad now lies in applying for a judicial review, or in asking for presidential clemency.

Amrozi bin Nurhasyim was the first of 29 Islamic militants convicted in the October 12, 2002 terrorist bombing that devastated a tourist area of the popular resort island. Two-hundred-two people were killed, most of them foreign tourists.

Amrozi was found guilty and sentenced to death last August. Early this week, the Supreme Court turned down his appeal. The 41-year-old Islamic militant based his appeal on religious grounds, saying he was fighting a holy war and that his actions were therefore justified. He said he did not accept the authority of the Indonesian courts. Two other militants, including Amrozi's older brother, Ali Ghufron, have also been sentenced to death for their roles in the bombing. Both have also filed appeals with the Supreme Court. Twenty-six others have received sentences ranging from three years to life for their roles in the bombing, and most of them are appealing as well.

Amrozi and the other leading defendants are said by the government to belong to Jemaah Islamiyah, a Muslim terrorist group that allegedly has links to the al Qaeda terror network. A lawyer for Amrozi, Mahendratta, says the Supreme Court rushed its decision on his appeal, and calls it unfair. He also complains that Amrozi was convicted under an anti-terrorism law that was enacted after the bombing took place. "I think it is very, very rush," he says. "Not only that, but, Amrozi is punished based on legal ground which is applied [under] retroactive principle. And such retroactive principle is against the constitution." Mahendratta says he will urge Amrozi to petition the Supreme Court to review the decision, a process that normally takes at least six months.

If Amrozi asks for presidential clemency, he will have to admit his guilt and take responsibility for his actions, which he has so far refused to do. Throughout his trial he maintained the bombing was justified as an act of jihad, or holy war.