Three Muslim militants who carried out the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, which killed 202 people in one of the most notorious terrorist atrocities of modern times, have been executed.
The men – Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron – went before a firing squad on the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where they were being held. The sentence was carried out just before midnight in woods several kilometres from their jail.
Jasman Panjaitan, a spokesman for the Indonesian attorney general's office, confirmed yesterday that the three men died shortly after midnight, local time. It had been known that the executions were scheduled for November, but a date had not been released.
Samudra, 38, and the brothers Nurhasyim, 47, and Ghufron, 48, who was also known as Mukhlas, were found guilty five years ago, following their trial on charges of planning and helping to carry out the two bombings on 12 October 2002.
It was a Saturday night and the clubs and bars on Bali's Kuta strip were packed by the time a suicide bomber walked into Paddy's Bar and blew himself up.
Minutes later a large car bomb exploded outside the nearby Sari Club, catching in its blast scores of people fleeing the first attack. Among the dead were 38 Indonesians, 28 Britons, 88 Australians and eight Americans.
During their trial the three militants taunted the victims' relatives and in the years since have never expressed remorse, other than that a number of Muslims were killed in the blasts. They said the attacks were retribution for alleged atrocities perpetrated by the US and its Western allies in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
They expressed hopes that their executions would trigger revenge attacks around Indonesia, causing police to increase security at foreign embassies, oil depots and tourist resorts.
A letter from Samudra's wife, Zakiah Darajad, was read out at a press conference after the executions. "[I] hope Allah gives the best to them and gives the worst to everyone that inflicted this unfair treatment," she wrote.
In a statement issued by their lawyers, the men said their blood would "become the light for the faithful ones and burning hellfire for the infidels and hypocrites". The men's bodies will be taken to their home towns. Samudra was from Serang, west Java, and Nurhasyim and Ghufron came from Lamongan, east Java.
A number of the victims' relatives have objected to the execution. Susanna Miller, of the Bali Bombing Victims Group, whose brother Dan was killed, told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: "Capital punishment for jihadist terrorism seems particularly anomalous to me. It effectively provides a state-sponsored route to martyrdom."
Brian Deegan, an Australian lawyer whose son Joshua died, said he and his son had opposed the death penalty. "Nothing will return my son to me, to his mother, his family and his friends. I see that no good will come from their execution. I see only harm," he wrote in a letter to officials.
The executed men were among more than 30 people convicted of offences relating to the nightclub bombings, which were allegedly funded by al-Qai'da and carried out by the militant group Jemaah Islamiah.
The Bali bombings severely dented the country's tourist industry and, although there have been no major attacks since 2005, the Foreign Office considers that "there remains a high threat from terrorism in Indonesia".
Indonesia's anti-terrorist unit, Detachment 88, last year carried out raids in which 10 suspected militants were detained. A few months later, police said they had foiled a planned attack on an oil depot in Jakarta.Reuse content