Bali accused says he ‘wanted foreigners out’

A MUSLIM mechanic on trial for the Bali nightclub bombings told a court yesterday why he did it: he wanted foreigners out of Indonesia and thinks late-night TV shows and western films are immoral.

Amrozi bin Nurhasyim faces execution by firing squad if found guilty by the court on the tropical resort island.

More than 200 people were killed in the October 12 blasts, including 26 British tourists.

The accused is charged with buying the bomb-making materials and the van used in the attack. He has already admitted his role and told his lawyers he was ready to be punished. Soon after his arrest in November, the 40-year-old was dubbed the “smiling terrorist” after he outraged survivors and victims’ relatives when he appeared giggling before television crews.

Yesterday, he admitted also being involved in a string of earlier bombings in Indonesia. He said he made a bomb that exploded at a Christian church in 2000, injuring two people. The blast was one of several in churches across the country that day.

He said he also built a device that blew up the Jakarta home of Filipino ambassador Leonides Caday in August 2000. Two people were killed and the diplomat was seriously wounded.

“I carried out these violent acts because there was no way to expel [foreigners] from Indonesia through diplomatic means,” he said yesterday.

In 2001, he built a bomb that detonated in a Jakarta shopping mall, injuring two people.

Amrozi said he had been acting in defence of Indonesian morality, which he said was collapsing in part because “foreigners have colonised late-night television”.

It was the latest but most bizarre justification for his attacks.

“What would happen to Bali in 10 years if I hadn’t bombed it?” he asked the court. “For sure, the morals of Indonesians would be severely ruined because most people would not be going to mosques, churches and temples.”

Amrozi also said foreigners have polluted Indonesia by bringing in “western videos and drugs”.

“The Jews, the Americans and their puppets know very well how to destroy the lives of Indonesians,” he told the court. “Destroying our morals is very important to them.”

Amrozi is allegedly a member of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida linked group accused of bomb attacks as part of campaign to establish an Islamic state in southeast Asia.

In recent days, several alleged group operatives have been arrested in Thailand and Cambodia, accused of plotting similar bombings.

The group’s spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, is also on trial for treason in Indonesia.

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