Bali Bombers Challenge Legality of Firing Squads

JAKARTA ~ The three convicted Bali bombers filed a petition against firing squads in the constitutional court on Wednesday in a last-ditch bid to stave off their executions, lawyers said.

The members of the Islamist Jemaah Islamiyah network – Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron – are awaiting execution over the 2002 bombings on the resort island that killed more than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists.

After exhausting their last appeals, they have now asked the constitutional court to rule on whether firing squads were a form of torture, their lawyers said. Lawyer Wirawan Adnan said the men wanted to be decapitated instead.

“Execution by shooting won’t kill the convicts instantly. The law states that if the first shot on the heart doesn’t work, they must be shot again to the head,” he said.

“The three have requested execution by decapitation.”

Executions in Indonesia are by firing squad, usually carried out at night in isolated and undisclosed locations. The prisoner is notified at least 72 hours in advance.

The bombers have shown no regret for the attacks and say they are looking forward to dying as “martyrs.”

Officials have already said the constitutional court’s deliberations will not delay the executions, unless it rules quickly in favor of the bombers.

“The executions are one problem and the decision of the constitutional court is another problem – there is no relationship,” Human Rights Minister Andi Mattalatta told journalists.

Attorney General’s Office spokesman Bonaventura Nainggolan confirmed that planning for the executions was proceeding.

“It has nothing to do with the execution process. The constitutional challenge they filed won’t have any effect on the planned execution,” he said.

“It will only have an effect if the constitutional court issues a decision quickly in their favor.”

But defense lawyer Adnan said the executions must be put on hold until the court rules on the petition.

“Otherwise the execution will be illegitimate,” he said.

Officials have said they hope to execute the bombers before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in September, and have already chosen men to form the firing squads.

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