Crime & Justice

Relatives of Bali Bombings victims ask for justice in Guantanamo

Fort Meade, United States, Jan 24 (EFE).- Relatives of the Bali Bombings victims called Wednesday for justice from the military process jury that must sentence two Malaysian defendants at the United States naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Some 202 people from 20 countries died due to the attacks on nightlife venues on Oct. 12, 2022 on the Indonesian island, including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, 23 Britons and seven Americans.

“Every time I hear the word Bali the smell of the bomb site and the smell of human flesh comes back to me, it feels like it’s been in my nostrils for years,” said Susanna Miller, whose British brother Dan, 31, died in the attacks.

Her testimony and other members come during the first day of the sentencing phase of the criminal proceedings against Mohammed Farik bin Amin and Mohammed Nazir bin Lep, who pleaded guilty last week after signing agreements with the Military Prosecutor’s Office.

The panel, which was elected Tuesday and comprises five soldiers, used a large part of Wednesday’s session to study the until now secret statements Farik and Nazir presented to the Prosecutor’s Office, before beginning to listen to the relatives late afternoon.

“The reach of this atrocity knew no bounds, and has affected very many people,” said Matthew Arnold, brother of Tim Arnold, who died aged 43. Arnold told the jury of family “devastation” that has affected three generations for more than two decades.

Chris Snodgrass, who lost his daughter Deborah, a 33-year-old American, said her murder in the attacks awakened in him a feeling of hatred toward Muslims, which he has been dealing with since 2002.

“I’m a religious person and the hateful person I have become is certainly not what I wanted,” he said.

Farik and Nazir face sentences of between 20 and 25 years in prison for having agreed to testify against Encep Nurjaman “Hambali,” an Indonesian man considered the mastermind of Jemaah Islamiya group – an affiliate of Al Qaida in Southeast Asia – detained in Guantanamo awaiting trial.

The three were detained in Thailand in 2003 and spent nearly three years in secret detention sites of the Central Intelligence Agency before being transferred to Guantánamo.

In 2021, 18 years after their arrest, they were charged in the same case, but last year authorities separated their processes during the negotiation with Farik and Nazir, who have acknowledged having conspired with Hambali.

Almost no details of the secret plea agreement are known, but during the negotiation the defendants requested their transfer to Malaysia once convicted to participate in a rehabilitation program for Jihadists.

“In the future you will be free,” Miller said, addressing the defendants. “It is possible that you will have children of your own and grow up with them while enjoying the precious luxury of life. So remember those you killed and I ask you to work to prevent others from continuing your vicious path.”

Their eventual transfer would serve to reduce the number of inmates at the Guantanamo naval base to 28 – from the 780 held at its peak – with the objective of Joe Biden’s government of closing the prison on the island. EFE

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