07/28/2008, 00.00
INDONESIA

Bali terrorist: "For Islam, dying by decapitation is a blessing"

by Mathias Hariyadi
The perpetrators show no remorse for the deaths of more than 200 Western tourists on vacation in the island, and ask to be killed according to the dictates of sharia, which provides for decapitation. The sentence will be carried out in the next few weeks on an island in central Java.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - According to Islamic law, it is better "to die by decapitation than by gunshot", and no "repentance or regret" must be shown over  violence committed "in the name of holy war". This is the "spiritual testament" of Imam Samudra, one of the three people responsible for the massacre in Bali in 2002, in which more than 200 people died. The three are awaiting judgment from the Indonesian authorities.

"Until I die, I will show no repentance for my actions", the terrorist is believed to have said to his brother Lulu Jamaluddin during a recent conversation at the maximum-security prison on the island of Nusakambangan, in central Java. He also added that a holy war, conducted through "the use of bombs" and suicide bombing attacks, is "blessed by God", for which reason he will never make "appeals to clemency" to avoid the death penalty.

According to a defense attorney, the men have asked for judgment to be carried out according to "the dictates of sharia", which provides for death by decapitation: another sign of their effort to "promote the values of Islamic law until the end, even at the point of death: dying by decapitation is a blessing". The lawyer also added that the island of Bali was chosen for the attack because it was under siege by hundreds of "infidels", meaning American citizens and their closest allies, including the English and Australians, who crowd the island's beaches and nightclubs every year.

From Jakarta, another lawyer for the three men has asked for the sentence to be overturned, because "the country's supreme court did not follow the correct procedures to apply the death penalty". This position was immediately rejected by Andul Hakim Ritonga, the deputy attorney general for the district, according to whom "everything was done according to the law" and only "the last bureaucratic formalities" remain to be arranged. He emphasizes that the site for the execution has already been chosen - the regency of Cilacap, in central Java - and that "we have submitted an official demand to Central Java Police and Bali Police HQ to make decisive actions to prepare their best shooters to do the job”.

The execution by firing squad should take place by the end of next month, before the beginning of the sacred month of Ramadan.

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