Two Malaysians in Guantanamo plead guilty to conspiring in Bali Bombings

Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin agreed to give evidence against alleged mastermind Hambali.

An Indonesian police officer in beige uniform stands amid the wreckage of blackened cars and ruined buildings after the 2002 Bali bombings
The 2002 Bali bombings were the worst attack in Indonesian history [File: Jonathan Drake/Reuters]

Malaysians Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin have pleaded guilty to conspiring in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.

The two men appeared in front of a military court at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday in proceedings broadcast via video link to reporters in the United States.

Bin Lep, 47, and Bin Amin, 48, pleaded guilty to five of the nine charges against them, according to Benar News, marking the first time they had entered a plea since they were brought to Guantanamo some 17 years ago.

Charges related to the 2003 attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 11 people were dropped as part of a plea deal, according to The New York Times, and the men agreed to give evidence against alleged Indonesian mastermind Encep Nurjaman, also known as Hambali.

Bin Lep and Bin Amin were accused of being Hambali’s accomplices and charged alongside him, but their cases were separated last year.

The Malaysians will be sentenced next week, after which they are expected to be returned home.

Hambali, who was once described by former US President George W Bush as “one of the world’s most lethal terrorists”, is still to go on trial.

Through his lawyers, Hambali has alleged that he was brutally tortured following his arrest in Thailand in 2003, after which he says he was transferred to a secret detention camp run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and tortured as part of the agency’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) programme, which is sometimes referred to as the “torture programme”.

The attacks on the Bali clubs in October 2002 were the worst in Indonesian history and led to a crackdown on hardline groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and a strengthening of Jakarta’s counterterrorism operations.

Three of the main perpetrators of the bombings were sentenced to death and executed in 2008, while a fourth, Ali Imron, was jailed for life after he apologised and expressed remorse for what he had done.

In 2022, Indonesia jailed Zulkarnaen, a senior member of JI who had been on the run for 20 years, to 15 years in prison over the attacks.

Source: Al Jazeera