Airlift plan for bodies of Bali bombers
Tom Allard Herald Correspondent in Jakarta
October 30, 2008
THE Bali bombers will be executed by firing squads at three locations,
co-ordinated to let loose a volley of bullets at the men's hearts at exactly
the same time on the prison island of Nusakambangan in Central Java.
The three men are likely to be executed on Saturday, according to an informed
Under the plan, Indonesian authorities are also preparing to remove the bodies
by helicopter amid fears of civil disorder by hardline supporters of the men
who murdered 202 people, including 88 Australians, on Bali's Kuta beach in 2002.
Yesterday text messages circulated around Jakarta, warning of terrorist attacks
on shopping malls and places where Westerners gather. Police dismissed them as
hoaxes, but the messages reflect a climate of fear generated by Amrozi, Mukhlas
and Imam Samudra and their followers.
Police sources said the plan, which is still being completed, was for the
bombers to be executed at three sites, most likely clearings in the forests on
The killings will take place at exactly the same time by three firing squads,
each with 14 members, most of whom would have carried out executions before.
They will aim for the hearts of the bombers, guided by a reflective device on
the men's clothes if, as usual, the executions take place at night. There have
been at least seven undertaken this year.
Because the attacks took place in Bali, prosecutors from the predominantly
Hindu island will be present and give the signal to fire.
The bombers will be accompanied by police and a religious figure of their
choice. A doctor will be present, and they can have a lawyer there as well.
The senior lawyer representing the bombers, Achmad Cholid, told the Herald that
six legal practitioners had been selected to be at the executions.
He said the families had not been informed the executions were imminent. By
custom, but not always in reality, they are supposed to be given 72 hours
notice. "Until we know the exact day, we won't decide on the cleric or the
burial site," he said.
As revealed in the Herald, the Bali bombers have received several offers from
wealthy backers to bury them together in a special jihadi cemetery. The idea is
that "pilgrims" can pay their respects to the "holy warriors".
A shrine would not only be deeply offensive to most Indonesians, it would be a
magnet for extremists. But the Attorney-General's spokesman, Jasman Panjaitan,
said it was up to the families where they wanted to bury the bodies.
Bodies are usually handed to the families immediately after the executions but
there is room for authorities to make changes if "public order" is threatened.
One senior police source told the Herald that these conditions had been met in
this case and that they strongly favoured airlifting the bodies from the island
to their burial place.
It is an unprecedented move and one that risks giving the impression the
bombers are getting special treatment so they can be buried within the 24 hours
stipulated by Islamic law.
But the alternative is worse as it would mean a long road trip, with a huge and
chaotic convoy of media and, possibly fanatics, coming along for the ride.
Complicating the timing of the executions is the visit of Prince Charles to
Indonesia from Saturday until November 5.
Such a visit would not stop the executions, but a large British media
contingent will be in the country at the time.