Return to opening page for further information and viewing conditions


2002 Bali bombing

The 2002 Bali Bombing occurred on October 12, 2002 in the town of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people and injuring a further 209. It is considered the deadliest act of terrorism in Indonesian history. The majority of the dead were foreign tourists, especially Australians, but nearly one fifth were Indonesian nationals.

A number of Indonesians were sentenced to death for their parts in the bombings and in October 2002 Abu Bakar Bashir, a leader of the Jemaah Islamiah organisation often accused of being behind the attacks, was charged over his alleged role in the bombing. In March 2005, Bashir was found guilty of conspiracy over the attacks in Bali.

The attack itself
Legal proceedings
nitial charges and trials
Constitutional appeals
See also
Bali bombings

Death toll from the Bali bombings on October 12, 2002

Nationality Deaths



Indonesian (most were Balinese)
















New Zealander










South African


South Korea


















Remains of the bombed nightclubAt 23:05 (15:05 UTC) on 12 October 2002, a bomb hidden in a backpack ripped through Paddy's Bar. The device was small and crude, but killed the backpack owner, likely a suicide operative. The injured immediately fled into the street. Approximately ten to fifteen seconds later, a second much more powerful car bomb of close to 1,000 kg, concealed in a white Mitsubishi van was detonated by remote control in front of the Sari Club. Windows throughout the town were blown out. The explosion left a 1 meter deep crater [1]. There were scenes of horror and panic inside and outside the bars. The local hospital was unable to cope with the number of injured, particularly burn victims. Many of the wounded, of all nationalities, were flown by the Royal Australian Air Force to hospitals in Darwin and other Australian cities.

Shortly before, a third bomb detonated in the street in front of the American consulate in Bali. This bomb caused a slight injury to one person, and only modest damage. It was packed with excrement for maximum moral damage.

The final death toll was 202, the majority holiday-makers in their 20s and 30s who were in the two bars. Many Balinese/Indonesians working in Kuta also were killed. Hundreds more people suffered horrific burns and other injuries. The largest group among those killed were holiday-makers from Australia. The Bali bombing is sometimes called "Australia's September 11" because of the large number of its citizens killed in the attack.

There were many acts of individual heroism. Kossy Halemai, a hotel manager, was singled out for praise with the award of Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2005.

Three bodies remained unidentified and were cremated at Bali in September 2003.

The bomb was at first believed to be made of C4 plastic explosive. However, on 21 October investigators at the scene disclosed that the main portion of the bomb was made of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer agent and easily available in Indonesia, while C4 is a military grade product and difficult to get.


The organisation immediately suspected of responsibility for the bombing was Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamist group linked in many news reports to the al-Qaeda network. The Indonesian chief of police, General Da'i Bachtiar said that the bombing was the "worst act of terror in Indonesia's history". Other Indonesian ministers stated their belief that the blasts were related to al-Qaeda.

But there is another story: Indonesian military explosives were used and (sources within) the military were possibly involved. The idea behind this 'conspiracy theory' or "false flag" operation was to get the Australian government into the 'war on terror'. Before, they were not interested in this war. Afterwards they send troops to Iraq to help the USA & coalition. Also its remarkable that the US embassy only suffered slight damage and overall very few American deaths.

Abu Bakar BashirAbu Bakar Bashir, an Islamic cleric believed by many to be among the leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah and wanted in Singapore and Malaysia, held a news conference on 12 October to deny any involvement.

In a number of statements he denied that the bombing had been perpetrated by Indonesians, and blamed the United States for exploding the bomb, claiming that it wasn't possible for Indonesians to construct such a sophisticated device.

Aris Munandar (aka Sheik Aris) is a JI associate linked to Bashir. He is believed to have assisted the Bali bomber Amrozi in acquiring some of the explosives used in the Bali bombings. Philippine intelligence considers Munandar to be associated with Mohammad Abdullah Sughayer, a Saudi national suspected of financing the al-Qaeda affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group in southern Philippines. Munandar is still at large.

Indonesian authorities also believe more suspects remain at large. In 2005, Indonesian police arrested 24 additional people suspected of involvement in the Bali attacks and a 2003 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. Some were believed to have been making preparations to leave for the Philippines.

Legal proceedings

Initial charges and trials
In April 2003 Indonesian authorities charged Abu Bakar Bashir (also rendered "Ba'asyir") with treason. It was alleged that he tried to overthrow the government and set up an Islamic state. The specific charges against Bashir related to a series of church bombings during Christmas in 2000, and to a plot to bomb United States and other Western interests in Singapore. He was initially not charged over the Bali attack, although he was frequently accused of being the instigator or inspirer of the attack. On 2 September Bashir was acquitted of treason but convicted of lesser charges and sentenced to four years prison. He said he would appeal. On October 15, 2004, he was arrested by the Indonesian authorities and charged with involvement in another bomb attack, which killed 14 people at the J. W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta on August 5, 2003. Secondary charges in this indictment accused him of involvement in the Bali bombing, the first time he faced charges in relation to this attack. On March 3, 2005, Bashir was found not guilty of the charges surrounding the 2003 bombing, but guilty of conspiracy over the 2002 attacks in Bali. He was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment. The Australian, US, and many governments expressed its disappointment that the sentence was too short.

On 30 April 2003, the first charges related to the Bali bombings were made against Amrozi bin Haji Nurhasyim, known as Amrozi, for allegedly buying the explosives and the van used in the bombings. On 8 August he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Another participant in the bombing, Imam Samudra, was sentenced to death on 10 September. Amrozi's brother, Ali Imron, who had expressed remorse for his part in the bombing, was sentenced to life imprisonment on 18 September. A fourth accused, Mukhlas, was sentenced to death on 1 October. All those convicted have said they will appeal, and none of the death sentences have yet been carried out.

The Australian, US, and many other foreign governments expressed satisfaction with the speed and efficiency with which the Indonesian police and courts dealt with the bombing's primary suspects, despite what they characterized as light sentences. All Australian jurisdictions abolished the death penalty more than 30 years ago, but a poll showed that 55% of Australians approved of the death sentences in the Bali cases. The Australian government said it would not ask Indonesia to refrain from using the death penalty.

On 15 August Riduan Isamuddin, generally known as Hambali, described as the operational chief of Jemaah Islamiyah and as al-Qaeda's point man in Southeast Asia, was arrested in Ayutthaya, the old capital one hour's drive north of Bangkok. He is in American custody in an undisclosed location, and has not been charged in relation to the Bali bombing or any other crime. It was reported that the United States is reluctant to hand Hambali over to Indonesian authorities in light of the lenient sentence given to Abu Bakar Bashir.

Constitutional appeals
On July 23, 2004, one of the convicted bombers, Maskur Abdul Kadir, successfully appealed his conviction. He had been tried under retrospective laws which were introduced after the bombing and which were employed to aid the prosecution of those involved in the attack. These laws were used by the prosecution instead of existing criminal laws as they allowed the death penalty to be imposed and lowered certain evidentiary restrictions.

The highest court in Indonesia, the Constitutional Court, found by a margin of five to four that trying the terrorist suspects under these retrospective laws violated Article 28I(1) of the constitution [2]. The minority judges argued that international human rights documents such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights allowed an exception to not applying retrospective legislation in the prosecution of crimes against humanity. The majority found that this argument was inconsistent with the text of Article 28I(1) which states that the rights listed there "cannot be limited under any circumstances."

Following this decision, charges related to the bombings against Idris, who had confessed to participating in the attacks to the police and court, were dismissed.

Both the chief of the Constitutional Court, in extra-judicial comments, and the Justice Minister, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, stated that the decision has no effect on the status of the thirty-two other convictions reached before the Constitutional Court's ruling. The legal status of Kadir, Idris and others who might have their convictions quashed following the ruling on the retrospective law is unclear.

The decision by the Constitutional Court has been seen as an important demonstration of its independence from the government. It is a relatively new body, created after the fall of Soeharto, and this decision was one of the first to overrule the constitutionality of the government's application of a law.

Further information on the Bali bombings and news from the Island can be found at

See also
2005 Bali bombings
Abu Bakar Bashir