Indonesia shuts down tourist areas


Indonesian authorities have shut down tourist operations around the island where the three Bali bombers will be executed, possibly on Saturday morning.

All preparations are now in place for the executions, although Indonesia’s deputy Attorney-General Abdul Hakim Ritonga was vague on when they would be implemented.

“All preparations are ready. Security forces have been boosted. The execution can be anytime between November 1 and November 20,” Ritonga told AFP.

Local authorities in Cilacap are tight-lipped about the impending executions.

Police have ordered local fishermen to stop their activities ferrying tourists to the island, Nusakambangan, where the bombers’ prison is located, Antara reported.

Authorities have also shut a spiritual tourist spot in Cilacap’s Kampung Laut sub-district, where 35 people found without identification were ordered home to their respective regions.

And police were searching vehicles and checking identification throughout the district, as the executions draw nearer.

Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra will each face a firing squad over their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people including 88 Australians.

One of their lawyers, Achmad Kholid, said they were yet to receive the formal letter notifying them of their execution, as is customary 72 hours before it is done.

“Until now, there isn’t that letter,” he told the online newspaper Tempo Interactif.

Ritonga also confirmed to AFP that the bombers’ bodies would be flown by helicopter to their villages in east and west Java, which would limit any potential for clashes with sympathisers that a long convoy journey may have brought.

“As Muslims, they should be buried as soon as possible. It will take too long to send the bodies by road but less than an hour by helicopter,” Ritonga said.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the bombers were “murderers”, but justice had been served in their case.

“Justice means being convicted of the offence,” Mr Rudd told Fairfax Radio Network.

“And these people were tracked down by a combination of the Indonesian national police, the Australian Federal Police and others in order to establish their guilt, and that has occurred.”

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith meanwhile said speculation about the execution date only added to the suffering of the bombing victims’ families.

“Every time the matter is referred to, the families of the victims of the bombing will just relive the agony of the loss of loved ones.”

Tensions in Indonesia were also fuelled last week by the arrest of an alleged terrorist cell in Jakarta which was plotting to bomb the city’s main fuel depot.

Ali Fauzi, the youngest brother of Amrozi and Mukhlas, said the bombers would be buried beside their father’s grave in their village in Tenggulun in East Java.

“We still have plenty of land to bury them,” Fauzi said, adding that the funeral ceremony will be simple.