Tue, Jul 22, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Trial of only remorseful Bali bomb suspect starts


The only suspect to show remorse for the carnage of last year's deadly Bali bombings went on trial yesterday, accused of planning and carrying out the attacks that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Ali Imron, the fourth key suspect to face justice over the Oct. 12 bombings, appeared in court in a Western-style suit and tie, and not the Islamic attire worn at earlier hearings for the other main accused -- Imron's two older brothers Amrozi and Mukhlas and alleged mastermind Imam Samudra.

Also unlike the other suspects -- who punctuated their court appearances with theatric shouts of religious slogans and claims that the blasts were part of a holy war against the enemies of Islam -- Imron sat quietly as charges were read against him.

All four men have admitted taking part in the blasts and face the death penalty if found guilty under newly passed anti-terror laws.

Earlier yesterday, judges said they would announce a verdict against Amrozi on Aug. 7.

At the start of his trial, Imron looked straight ahead as prosecutors detailed how he allegedly helped assemble the bombs and drove the minivan used in one of the blasts to the scene of the attack.

"The defendant took part in the planning ... and the execution of the Bali bombings," prosecutor Gusti Putu Sulaba said.

The trial was adjourned until next week when prosecutors will call their first witnesses.

After his arrest last year, Imron gave a media conference in which he showed reporters how he and others allegedly assembled the explosives used in one of the bombs.

"In my heart, I regret this," he said at the time. "I want to apologize to the victims' families in Indonesia and to foreign families."

Imron's lawyer told reporters on Sunday that his client believed the attack was not permitted under Islam.

"Imron is not like Amrozi," said Suyanto, who goes by a single name like many Indonesians. "He believes that jihad in Bali is wrong."

Imron, described in court as a religious teacher, is one of more than 30 people arrested over the blasts. At least nine are accused of playing a direct role in the attack.

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