The terrorists convicted of killing 202 tourists in Bali have been executed, but there is controversy about their conviction.
The three terrorists convicted of killing 202 tourists, among them 28 Britons, and injuring a further 200, with two bombs in a Bali nightclub in October 2002 have been executed by a firing squad at their remote prison island in Java, but there is controversy about their conviction.
There is no doubt about the trio’s guilt, nor the deliberate nature of the atrocity in which a small bomb detonated to empty a crowded nighclub into the street outside where another, much larger device, detonated as the emergency services attempted to cope with the casualties.
The issue that went up to Indonesia’s supreme court concerns the retrospective nature of their sentence. At the time of their offence there was no comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation, and no death penalty, but the law was changed precisely because of the atrocity which not only killed so many foreigners, but inflicted great economic harm on a country dependent on visitors.
Indonesia has prepared itself for a terrorist backlash as a protest against the executions but apparently public opinion is solidly in support of Djakarta’s determination to carry out the sentence.
There has been little evidence of Islamiya Jaramiya since the police crackdown on the extremists, which resulted in the arrest of thirty militants, and this event will be an interesting benchmark by which to judge the success of Indonesia’s counter-terrorism strategy.