A man found guilty of masterminding the Bali bomb blasts of October 12, 2002 in which 202 people died has been sentenced to death by an Indonesian court, RFA reports.
Imam Samudra--who was found guilty of a "crime against humanity"--raised his fist in a gesture of defiance and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) when the judge handed down the sentence at a court in Denpasar, the capital of the Indonesia's only Hindu island. Samudra has instructed his lawyers to appeal.
The sentence comes after widespread criticism of the four-year jail term handed to Abu Bakar Bashir last week. Bashir was widely believed to be the spiritual leader of the group, but was found guilty of a lesser treason charge, because of insufficient evidence. Judge Ifa Sudewi--one of a five-member panel--said there were no mitigating factors and Samudra had committed "an extraordinary crime and a crime against humanity." Samudra again yelled "Allahu Akbar" as paramilitary police gripped his arms and led him out of court. "Go to hell, kafir (infidels)!" he shouted in Arabic.
Investigators believe Samudra is a leading member of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network, which staged the attack to avenge Western oppression of Muslims worldwide. He is the second Bali bomber to be sentenced to death--after Amrozi on Aug. 7.
More than 30 suspects are on trial over the Bali attacks. Samudra was also convicted of involvement in church bombings on Batam island near Singapore in 2000 and in a robbery that helped fund the Bali plot.
The two blasts at Bali nightclubs on Oct. 12, 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists from 21 different countries. ###