British Bali relatives to appeal death sentence

 

Families of British victims of the Bali bombings say they plan to appeal the death sentence imposed on an Indonesian militant to prevent him becoming a "martyr" for extremists.

"(Mahatma) Gandhi said an eye for an eye makes the world blind," Miller told journalists. "We want a cessation of violence. We don't need more death and martyrs."

Amrozi, a 40-year-old mechanic from Java island dubbed "the smiling bomber", is the first person convicted of the attack on Kuta Beach nightclubs last year which killed 202 people. He punched the air with his fist as the judge read out the verdict.

"Amrozi has asked for a death sentence so he can become a martyr - that's the last thing we want him to be," said Miller, spokeswoman for families of most of the 26 British people who died in the attacks.

Indonesian police have arrested or identified more than 30 suspects in the bombing.

"We're furious with the people that did it, but clearly it is just going to make the international situation worse if we're going to have 30 martyrs," Miller said.

British families would appeal through the Foreign Office in London for the death sentence to be commuted, she added.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said Britain opposed the death penalty in all circumstances, but suggested Prime Minister Tony Blair's government was unlikely to intervene.

"We are aware that the death penalty is not favoured by many of our affected families. However we are unable to apply undue pressure on the judicial process of Indonesia," she said. "If at any stage we feel we should make special representations on behalf of our nationals, we will of course do so."

Miller's brother was on a rugby tour of the resort island when the attacks took place. His wife of just five weeks, Polly, was badly injured in the blast that tore through two nightclubs. One of her bridesmaids was also killed.

"We want a life sentence. We are going to endure a life of grief and trauma," Susanna Miller said.

"(Amrozi) shows no remorse now, so we can only hope he will do after a few years in an Indonesian jail. Why execute someone who shows no remorse and wants to be a martyr?" she said.

"He's having his day. This is what he wants. I want to deprive him of what he sees as his final honour."