The smile of a bomber sentenced to death

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The Independent Online

Amrozi Bin Nurhasyim let out a triumphant cry and punched the air after learning that he faced martyrdom yesterday. In the Bali courtroom, relatives of the people who died in last year's bombing wept and embraced.

The Javanese mechanic was the first of about three dozen suspects to be tried over the blasts that killed 202 people, including 26 Britons, in October. Until the death sentence was pronounced, he had been indifferent to his trial.

Bravado and defiance characterised his demeanour throughout the trial, and judgment day was no different. As he entered the crowded courtroom in Denpasar, the Balinese capital, Amrozi raised his fists and shouted "Burn, burn the Jews" in Arabic.

Amrozi, 41, who will face death by firing squad, admitted to buying the van that was left outside the Sari club, as well as the explosives that reduced the Sari to rubble and gutted a neighbouring club, Paddy's Bar. He denied playing a leading role in the plot to target Westerners.

The judges did not believe him. They declared him "guilty in a legal and convincing manner" of helping to plot, organise and carry out the most devastating terrorist attack since 11 September 2001. The chief judge, I Made Karna, said Amrozi's actions were "beyond the bounds of humanity and outside any religious teachings". When Mr Karna announced that "the sentence on the defendant Amrozi is death", Amrozi swivelled in his chair to face the rows of hostile faces, smiled broadly and gave a thumbs-up. He has shown no remorse and has made plain that, as a soldier of jihad (holy war), he would welcome martyrdom as the highest possible honour.

The sentence was greeted with cheers and applause. But many relatives of British victims were unhappy about the prospect of Amrozi being put to death. Jun Hirst, whose boyfriend, Daniel Braden, 28, was killed, said: "He will become a martyr and die a happy man, knowing he has completed his mission ... I think a lot of people will admire him, and his death will provoke more violence." Susanna Miller, of the UK Bali Bombing Victims' Group (BBVG), who lost her brother, Dan, said it would appeal for the death sentence to be commuted.

Eighty-eight Australians and 38 Indonesians also died in Bali. The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, said: "I hope that this verdict provides some sense of comfort to those who lost their loved ones."

Two of Amrozi's brothers - Mukhlas, believed to be the mastermind of the plot, and Ali Imron - are midway through their trials. Another 36 suspects are awaiting justice. Six are still at large, including Hambali, a former leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a group linked with al-Qa'ida.