Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bali bombings 2005: Bashir and the Schapelle Corby comparison

I was in Kuta in August and drove through Jimbaran. Jimbaran Beach is not a target I would have picked for a terrorist bombing.

It is at least half an hour's drive from Kuta; it is by no means just an extension of the tourism zone like Legian and Seminyak are. Some Flickr photos tagged "Jimbaran" are here. It's all plastic chairs, sunsets, and overcooked seafood stuffed with lead weight before being sold by weight.

How sad the deaths are. The injuries too will cause terrible consequences for a long time. It is appropriate to acknowledge that. I do not like the party set in Bali, but to be torn to pieces with ball bearings is and ought to be repulsive to everyone. Anyway, it was tourists from Newcastle who were injured, and, likely, killed, not the Ku De Ta set. The latter are worrying about warnings of attacks in Seminyak.

It's probably not the right time to raise it, but in "these difficult times" an attachment to the facts and some respect for the rule of law is a healthy discipline. It's Bashir. Now, he doesn't really share my politics: he wants to turn Indonesia into an Islamic state, openly supports Osama Bin Laden, and said that the Americans carried out the 2002 bombing. But I am sick of hearing Bashir described as someone who masterminded the 2002 Bali bombings. Actually I don't even mind that, it's when people start comparing Schappelle Corby's sentence with Bashir's as if Schappelle's crime was to have a bit of pot in her pipe and Bashir's the Bali Bombings round one.

The truth of the matter is recorded in The Age -- that the man was jailed for 30 months for saying to two kids who later went on to commit the Bali Bombings, Round One "It's up to you, you are the ones who know the situation on the ground." What's more, the conviction was based on the affidavit testimony of two jailbirds whom Bashir's lawyers were unable to cross-examine and who in fact denied the conversations. Those who bleat too loudly about the unfairness of Corby's conviction ought to bear this in mind:
"The Indonesian court convicted Bashir after a five-month trial on the supposed evidence of two of the Bali bombers, Amrozi and Mubarok, both of whom are in prison in Bali.

According to the prosecution, Bashir met with Amrozi and Mubarok in Bashir's house in Solo, Central Java, in August 2002 - two months before the October attack.

At that meeting, the pair are alleged to have said to Bashir: "What if we do something in Bali?" Bashir is alleged to have replied: "It's up to you, you are the ones who know the situation on the ground."

Chief Judge Sudarto said this exchange proved Bashir was involved in the conspiracy to carry out the Bali bombings.

According to Bashir's lawyers, this evidence proved nothing and should never have been accepted by the judges as it was never tested in the court.

Mr Adnan said these allegations about Bashir's involvement were part of a statement given to police by Mubarok after he was arrested. But when Mubarok was brought to give evidence in Bashir's trial, he refused to speak about this conversation or anything else.

Bashir's lawyers had wanted to bring to court Amrozi, who has denied this exchange ever took place, but their request was refused."
He was acquitted of 6 of the 7 charges, including treason, in the same trial in which he was convicted of conspiracy in relation to the Bali bombings. He is currently charged with further offences in relation to the 2002 bombings, but they are, at present, charges. He today condemned the 2005 bombings relatively unreservedly.


Blogger Jakartass said...

Well said.

One doesn't have to agree with someone's viewpoint to recognise when a seeming injustice is done.

8:55 pm  

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