Bali Bombing Suspect Goes on Trial

BALI, Indonesia -- The man dubbed the "smiling terrorist" went on trial Monday for the bombings of two Bali nightclubs packed with tourists -- an act, Indonesian prosecutors said, was aimed at punishing Washington and its allies for their perceived oppression of the world's Muslims.

Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, a 40-year-old mechanic, is the first of 33 suspects accused in two consecutive bombings on the resort island on Oct. 12, 2002.

At least 202 people were killed, most of them vacationers in what was the world's bloodiest terror attack since Sept. 11, 2001.

If convicted he and his co-accused could be executed under tough new anti-terror laws.

Prosecutors alleged Amrozi bought bomb-making materials as well a minivan that was used as a massive car bomb.

A 33-page indictment said he was among plotters who "talked about the obligations of Muslims against other Muslims who have been oppressed and slaughtered by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan, Palestine, Kashmir ... and Iraq."

It said Amrozi made his purchase and carried out some coordinating work on his home island of Java before the bombings. It did not say where Amrozi was on the night of the attack.

The trial is seen as a test of Indonesia's willingness to crack down on radical Islamic groups.

It could also shed light on the inner workings of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked group believed responsible for the carnage on Bali as part of wider campaign to set up a Southeast Asian Islamic state.

Amrozi arrived at a tightly guarded courthouse in a police convoy. He said nothing as he was hustled past hundreds of waiting reporters. The court was packed with spectators, including survivors and relatives of the dead.

As the allegations were read out, hundreds of officers, including bomb squads and sharpshooters, stood guard outside. Roadblocks were set up and security force helicopters hovered above.

Amrozi is charged with helping to plan and carry out the bombings at the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar that caused "massive casualties," prosecutor Urip Tri Gunawan told the court.

Amrozi earned his infamous nickname in the Indonesian media when he grinned and giggled before reporters after his arrest last November.

Police say they have a strong case -- including a confession from Amrozi -- as well as testimony from 102 witnesses and physical evidence, such as receipts for the explosives and the chassis of the minivan used in the attack.

However, defense attorneys argued that the prosecution case failed to prove Amrozi actively took part in the attack.

In their opening remarks, they acknowledged their client had confessed. But this in itself was not enough to find him guilty, they said.

"If he was only present at planning meetings and listened, that is far from what he is accused of in the indictment," lawyer Wirawan Adnan told the court. "The indictment does not show whether he was a planner or just a foot soldier. We have to conclude the indictment is not complete and is invalid."

The case was adjourned until next Monday.