Indonesia Executes Bali Bombers
By Nancy-Amelia Collins
08 November 2008
Indonesia has confirmed it has executed the three Islamic militants convicted of planning and carrying out the 2002 terrorist bombings on the resort island of Bali just after midnight. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.
Amrozi Nurhasyim, Ali Ghufron, and Imam Samudra's death sentence was carried out just after midnight Sunday at an island prison off the coast of Java.
The three Islamic militants were all members of the al Qaida-linked regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
They were convicted five years ago and sentenced to death for planning and carrying out the bombings on Bali that claimed the lives of 202 people, including 88 Australian tourists in 2002.
Police have stepped up security across this sprawling archipelago fearing the executions could spark fresh terrorist attacks.
Supporters of the bombers, who are a very small but vocal minority, have vowed to carry out revenge attacks.
Terrorism expert and senior advisor for the International Crisis Group, Sidney Jones, does not think the executions will cause any major terrorist attack and credits the severe weakening of JI to the work of the police, who have jailed over 300 militants over the past few years.
"I don't think that the execution changes anything," said Jones. "I don't think it closes a chapter, I don't think it opens a new one. I think the bombings that have taken place in the past, at least the last three, have all been the work of Noordin Mohammad Top, who is still at large."
"So the executions won't make any difference. And to the extent that his group is weaker now than it was before has everything to do with the good work of the police and very little to do with activities related to the Bali bombers," she added.
Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammad Top is believed to be the mastermind behind the Bali bombings and police say he may be hiding in Indonesia.
The Bali bombers have never shown any remorse for their crimes, except to apologize for the Muslims who were killed in the bombings.
The families and several hundred supporters say they will give the militants a hero's funeral after the bodies are flown by helicopter to their hometowns in Central Java later Sunday.
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