3 militants executed for '02 terror attacks

Indonesia executed three Islamic militants Saturday for helping plan and carry out the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Imam Samudra, 38, and brothers Amrozi Nurhasyim, 47, and Ali Ghufron, 48, were executed several miles from their high security prison on Nusakambangan island, said Qadar Faisal, one of their attorneys.

Their bodies will be taken by helicopter to their home villages for burial, he said.

The Oct. 12, 2002, twin nightclub attacks — allegedly funded by al-Qaida and carried out by members of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah — thrust the world's most populous Muslim nation onto the front lines in the war on terror.

The three never expressed remorse, saying the bombings were meant to punish the U.S. and its Western allies for alleged atrocities in Afghanistan and elsewhere. They even taunted relatives of victims at their trials five years ago.

In recent months, the men had publicly expressed hope their executions would trigger revenge attacks in Indonesia.

The capital has been on high alert, with extra police deployed at embassies, shopping malls and offices, but most analysts expect any reaction to be small and limited to demonstrations, bomb hoaxes and show of solidarity at the men's' funerals.

“But everyone should be extra vigilant, at least for the next week,” said Ken Conboy, a Jakarta-based security expert, noting that even small, peaceful rallies “can quickly spin out of control.”

Though the three Bali bombers said they were happy to die martyrs, their lawyers fought for years to stop their executions, arguing they were convicted retroactively on anti-terrorism laws.

The executions were delayed several times, usually without explanation, but Jasman Panjaitan, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, confirmed Sunday that the men had been killed and their bodies handed over to family members.

Mohamad Chozin, a brother of Nurhasyim and Ghufron, said their bodies will be take to their mother's house in the village of Tenggulun. Like many in Indonesia, the brothers do not share the same last name.

Hundreds of sympathizers and students from nearby Islamic boarding schools were expected to line roads and welcome them back as heroes, Chozin and others said.

But in the West Java city of Serang, Nunung, the sister of Samudra, said she and other family members wanted to apologize to victims on his behalf, as they have in the past. She, like many others in the country, goes by just one name.

The three men were among more than 30 people convicted in connection with the bombings. Jemaah Islamiyah was blamed for at least three other suicide bombings in Indonesia. But the 2002 attack, however, was by far the bloodiest.

One of the attackers walked into Paddy's nightclub on a busy Saturday night, setting off a bomb attached to his vest. Minutes later, a larger car bomb exploded outside the nearby Sari Club.

The dead included 88 Australians, 28 Britons and eight Americans – most revelers fleeing the first blast.