TEACHER & STUDENT: Cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir (back to camera) talks Saturday with Bali bomber Imam Samudera at the Nusakambangan prison
Ba’asyir pays homage to Bali bombers in jail
Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Cilacap
Hard-line Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir visited three Bali bombers on death row at their prison Saturday, warning that Indonesia would suffer a “big disaster” if the militants were executed.
Should the government, the Supreme Court and prosecutors — who are all Muslims — execute Imam Samudra, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Muchlas, they would be “apostates”, Ba’asyir said.
The cleric was speaking to journalists on his way to Nusakambangan, an island prison complex in Cilacap, Central Java, where the three are awaiting execution. Ba’asyir was accompanied by Muslim lawyer Achmad Michdan and dozens of his followers from the Indonesian Mujahidin Council, as well as family members of the three convicted terrorists. Imam, Amrozi and Muchlas were sentenced to death for their roles in the 2002 nightclub bombings on the resort island of Bali, which killed 202 people, mostly Western tourists.
“I’m worried that if they are executed there will be a big disaster in Indonesia,”
Ba’asyir said without elaborating. He said the visit to the three bombers was to show “concern among Muslims who are being tortured”. Once again, he did not elaborate. The cleric called the three convicts “mujahid”, an Arabic term for holy warrior, despite the fact that the Bali bombings killed innocent people.
“They were not terrorists but counter- terrorists.”
He said that during the visit he wanted to advise the convicts to be patient and to seek God’s forgiveness if they had done wrong. “I would advise them that if their methods were true, they should be patient. But if their methods were wrong, they must repent to God.” According to Ba’asyir, the three convicts felt guilty of using the Bali bombs to “defend” Islam as innocent Muslims were among the dead. “That is why they are now fasting for two months to make up for the loss of innocent lives,” he said. The cleric did not say if the innocent lives included those of foreign holidaymakers, the majority of the victims killed during the attacks. No date has been set for the execution of the three Bali bombers, although the Supreme Court has rejected their final appeals. Ba’asyir was once convicted of conspiracy in the Bali bombings, and served 2 1/2 years in prison before being freed in June 2006 after the Supreme Court quashed the conspiracy conviction on appeal. The Bali bombings and several other deadly attacks have been blamed on militants from Jamaah Islamiyah, of which Ba’asyir was alleged to have been the spiritual leader and co-founder. Although there have been no major bomb attacks since 2005, police say Indonesia still faces a considerable threat from militants.
* Something makes me think that targeted assignations are a good way for disposing of poisonous filth like that.