Preparations for execution of three Bali terrorists
by Benteng Reges

Three years after sentence was handed down, the authorities have started technical preparations to carry out the punishment. The terrorists' imminent death will do nothing to further a positive outcome in the case of three Catholics awaiting execution in Palu.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Three years after they were sentenced, the execution of three terrorists linked to the Bali bombings in 2002 draws near. Many Indonesians consider the death of Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Muhklas as a prologue to that of three Catholics convicted in Palu, a province in Central Sulawesi.

Yesterday, the Attorney General's Office in Bali released an official statement to say all technical procedures to carry out the execution of the three Islamic militants had been started. As yet, however, no details about the time and place of execution have been given.

"There is nothing to prevent the execution of sentence, but usually one waits until the last possibility of appeal has been exhausted," said Wirawan Adnan, defence lawyer.

In fact, the authorities are waiting to find out if the relatives of any of the terrorists intend filing a plea for clemency to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as stipulated by the law. The condemned men have refused to appeal to the head of state. The lawyer, Adnan, said the three Muslims did not ask for clemency in person because this, in their view, would have signaled "surrendering to manmade law". Amrozi and the others have said several times over they want to be judged by God's law alone.

The three men – detained in Nusakambangan prison, central Java – were condemned to death in 2003 by the Denpasar district court for their involvement in the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed 202 people.

Three Catholics in Palu – Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwa and Dominggus da Silva – are also waiting to be executed. They were accused of masterminding the massacre of Muslims in 2000 in Poso. There are growing doubts about their guilt, but the government is standing firmly by accusations against them. Some Indonesian observers say the government's refusal to overturn their death penalty is a bid to "balance out" the imminent execution of the Islamic terrorists. By executing the Christians too, the government will be able to present an "impartial" front in its dealings with both communities.