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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Court convicts Bali commander
Abdul Aziz, aka Imam Samudra, punches the air in court
Imam Samudra was described as the brains behind the attack
A 33-year-old Indonesian computer expert has been sentenced to death for organising the Bali bomb attacks which killed 202 people last October.

Judges said the charges against Abdul Aziz, commonly known as Imam Samudra, had been conclusively proven.

Imam Samudra let out an animated cry of "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") as the verdict was read out, and was still shouting as police led him from the court.

The only one of the suspected bombers to have a university degree, Imam Samudra is portrayed by authorities as the quiet intellectual of the group

His lawyers said they would appeal against the verdict.

Imam Samudra is the second of the suspects in the Bali bombing case to be sentenced to death. A man called Amrozi received the same verdict in August.

The judges said the prosecution had proved that Imam Samudra played a crucial strategic role in the Bali attack and was, in effect, the brains of the operation.

The prosecuting lawyers had argued that he was in control of the operation on the ground, selecting the targets in Bali and assigning roles to his fellow militants.

Judge Ifa Sudewi said there were no mitigating factors.

She said Imam Samudra committed "an extraordinary crime and a crime against humanity".

Imam Samudra had denied playing an organising role in the attacks. However, he said in court that he thought the Bali bomb attacks were justified.

The Indonesians are sending out a very strong message that if you become involved in acts of terror then... you risk your life
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer

His trial was characterised by angry outbursts, mostly directed at the United States and Australia.

He had said he was happy about the number of foreigners who died in the Bali attack, but regretted that there were also 38 Indonesian victims.

As he left the court on Wednesday, he shouted "Go to hell, you infidels" as he passed some victims' relatives who attended the hearing.

Australia, the country which lost the most people in the Bali bombings, immediately welcomed the verdict.

"The Indonesians are sending out a very strong message that if you become involved in acts of terror then ... you risk your life," said Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

One of Imam Samudra's lawyers, Qadhar Faisal, told reporters that his client had asked his advocates before the verdict to appeal any death sentence, because he believed he should have been tried under Islamic law.

After hearing the verdict, Imam Samudra's brother Lulu told the BBC: "We cannot accept this law as it's not coming from God. Furthermore the government is not upholding the law as their priority, but they're prioritising more on politics and conspiracy."

However, Imam Samudra has said he is ready to face a death sentence because he believes death will bring him closer to God.

Like many other of the accused Bali bombers, Imam Samudra had been a student of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, an Indonesian cleric who was sentenced to four years in jail for treason by a court last week.

Ba'asyir had been accused of acting as the spiritual leader for Jemaah Islamiah, a regional Islamic militant group. Both he and Imam Samudra have denied any knowledge of JI.

More than 30 Bali suspects are in detention. Those on trial include a man known as Mukhlas, who is accused of masterminding the attack, and Ali Imron, who has admitted to helping make one of the bombs.

The BBC's Andrew Burroughs
"He has been sentenced to death by firing squad"


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