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2002 Bali terrorist bombing

The Bali bombing

The Bali terrorist bombing took place on October 12 2002 in the town of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people and injuring 209, mainly overseas holiday makers. Three Indonesians were sentenced to death for their parts in the bombings, but those ultimately responsible had not been brought to justice a year after the bombing.

Table of contents
1 The bombing
2 Suspects
3 Legal proceedings
4 External links

The bombing

The club was filled with mostly surfers, and expats from other countries

At 11:05pm (1505 UTC) on 12 October 2002, an electronically triggered bomb ripped through Paddy's Bar, driving the dead and injured out into the street where ten to fifteen seconds later, a second much more powerful car bomb in a white Mitsubishi van exploded in front of the Sari Club. Windows throughout the town were blown out. Scenes of horror and panic inside and outside the bars followed, with many acts of individual heroism. The local hospital was unable to cope with the number of injured, particuarly burns victims. Many of the wounded, of all nationalities, were flown by the Royal Australian Air Force to hospitals in Darwin and other Australian cities.

The final death toll was 202, the majority of them holiday-makers in their 20s and 30s who were in the two bars. Many Balinese working in the bars were also killed. Hundreds more people suffered horrific burns and other injuries. The nationalities of the dead were believed in (October 2003) to be:

Three bodies remained unidentified and were cremated at Bali in September 2003.

The bomb was at first believed to be made of C-4 plastic explosive. However, on 21 October investigators at the scene disclosed that the main bomb was made of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer agent and easily available in Indonesia, while C-4 is a military grade product and difficult to get. Ammonium nitrate was also the explosive agent used in the Oklahoma City bombing.


The organisation immediately suspected of responsibility for the bombing was Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamist group linked in many news reports to the al-Qaeda network. The Indonesian chief of police, General Da'i Bachtiar said that the bombing was the "worst act of terror in Indonesia's history". Other Indonesian ministers stated their belief that the blasts were related to al-Qaeda.

Abu Bakar Bashir, an Islamic cleric believed by many to be among the leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah and wanted in Singapore and Malaysia, held a news conference on 12 October to deny any involvement. In a number of statements he denied that the bombing had been perpetrated by Indonesians, and blamed the United States for exploding the bomb, claiming that it was impossible for Indonesians to contruct such a sophisticated device.

Legal proceedings

In April 2003 Indonesian authorities charged Abu Bakar Bashir with treason. It was alleged that he tried to overthrow the government and set up an Islamic state. The specific charges related to a series of church bombings in 2000, and to a plot to bomb United States interests in Singapore. He was not charged over the Bali attack, although he was frequently accused of being the instigator or inspirer of the attack. On 2 September Bashir was acquitted of treason but convicted of lesser charges and sentenced to four years prison. He said he would appeal.

On 30 April 2003, the first charges related to the Bali bombings were made against Amrozi bin Haji Nurhasyim, known as Amrozi, for allegedly buying the explosives and the van used in the bombings. On 8 August he was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. Another particpant in the bombing, Imam Samudra, was sentenced to death on 10 September. Amrozi's brother, Ali Imron, who had expressed remorse for his part in the bombing, was sentenced to life imprisonment on 18 September. A fourth accused, Mukhlas, was sentenced to death on 1 October. All those convicted have said they will appeal.

The Australian government expressed its satisfaction with the speed and efficiency with which the Indonesian police and courts dealt with the Bali bombing. All Australian jurisdictions abolished the death penalty more than 20 years ago, but a poll showed that 55% of Australians approved of the death sentences in the Bali cases. The Australian government said it would not ask Indonesia to refrain from using the death penalty.

On 15 August Riduan Isamuddin, generally known as Hambali, described as the operational chief of Jemaah Islamiyah and as al-Qaeda's "point man" in south-east Asia, was arrested in Bangkok. He is believed to be in American custody and has not been charged in relation to the Bali bombing. It was reported that the United States is reluctant to hand Hambali over to Indonesian authorities in light of the lenient sentence given to Abu Bakar Bashir.

External links