August 14, 2008 / 6:16 AM / 11 years ago

Indonesian court hears Bali bombers' plea

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday began hearing a plea by three Islamic militants, known as the Bali bombers, who are challenging the method of capital punishment in a bid to delay their execution.

Bali bombers Amrozi (L), Mukhlas (2nd L), and Imam Samudra (R) sit as their lawyer Achmad Michdan (2nd R) speaks at Batu prison, in Indonesia's Nusa Kambangan Island January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

Lawyers for the three men — Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Mukhlas, also known as Ali Gufron lodged a legal challenge earlier this month, saying that Indonesia’s method of executing convicts by firing squad was inhumane.

All three are on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

“The appellants, as Indonesian citizens, have constitutional rights,” which include not being tortured, Wirawan Adnan, one of the lawyers representing the bombers, told the court.

The lawyers also asked for the executions to be postponed until the court had reached a verdict.

Adnan said last week it could take more than a minute for a convict to bleed to death after being shot and that the men would prefer an Islamic method of execution by beheading.

Indonesian police have prepared firing squads for the men and Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji has said that the execution could occur before the start of the Muslim fasting month in September after the men had exhausted all their legal options.

Officials had started to beef up security around Nusakambangan prison on Wednesday night, a prison-island off Central Java housing the men, a Reuters witness said, adding that fishermen going too close to the island were being shooed away.

Bambang Winahyo, Central Java head of State Penitentiaries, said efforts had been made to anticipate any potential disturbances related to the executions.

There are concerns the executions could exacerbate militant anger in the predominantly Muslim country of about 226 million people.

But several analysts have dismissed fears of widespread anger, saying most Indonesians had little sympathy for the violent methods of the Bali bombers.

Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Ed Davies and David Fogarty

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