Mob storms Bali jail to demand immediate execution of bombers
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Thursday 13 October 2005
Balinese anger and grief boiled over when 500 people stormed the island's main prison and demanded the immediate execution of three men on death row for their roles in the 2002 nightclub bombings.
The protest yesterday - mounted on the third anniversary of those attacks, which killed 202 people - was swiftly defused. But it illustrated the public mood on the Indonesian island, where a second wave of bombings 12 days ago left 23 people dead, dealing another blow to the vital tourist industry.
As the anniversary was marked in Bali and in Australia, which lost 88 of its nationals, demonstrators marched on Kerobokan jail in the capital, Denpasar. They destroyed part of a concrete wall and removed the main steel door from its hinges.
"Kill Amrozi!" the crowd yelled, referring to one of the 2002 ringleaders. "Give us back our peaceful Bali." Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, and his two fellow plotters, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas, have yet to face the firing squad, as their appeals process has not run its course. Indeed, they are no longer in Kerobokan, having been transferred to a high-security prison in Java on Tuesday for their own safety.
Yesterday's rally was the largest of several that have taken place outside Kerobokan in recent days.
Both sets of bombings have been blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional extremist network. Although both were aimed at Western tourists, large numbers of Balinese were killed and injured. The tourism industry, on which so many local jobs depend, has been crippled.
At the prison, a group of musicians positioned themselves between riot police and the protesters, who were wearing traditional Balinese headbands and sarongs.
Police blocked the entrance to the cells and contained the crowd in a parking lot.
Amrozi, who punched the air when he was sentenced to death, has become the focal point of Balinese fury. When filmed during a police interview, he appeared to be smiling.
In Kuta, Bali's principal tourist enclave, survivors and relatives of victims gathered beneath a granite memorial erected near the former Sari nightclub, which was destroyed by a massive van bomb in October 2002.
Indonesians and foreigners paid their respects at the monument, where the names of the dead, from 20 nations, are engraved.
Amid tight security, flowers were laid, prayers were offered and tears were shed. A 202-second silence was observed.
The visiting Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said: "The horrific attack in Bali was committed by people who preached a twisted ideology of hate ... Our hearts are all the heavier following the heinous attacks of just over a week ago." After the 2002 bombings, the mood on the island was predominantly one of shock. This time, after three suicide bombers blew up crowded restaurants, the people of Bali - a mainly Hindu enclave in a large Muslim nation - are angry. Nurhayati lost her son-in-law in Kuta three years ago. "I don't want others go through what I did," she said.
"Six days after the bombing, I finally found his body. It was all burnt and there was nothing but a piece of limb." Police made their first arrest in connection with the latest attacks this week, detaining a man they believe shared a house with the suicide bombers. But investigators said yesterday that the man was "a zero, not even a small fish".
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