JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia's top court said Tuesday it rejected final appeals of three Islamic militants convicted over the 2002 Bali bombings, bringing closer their executions for the attacks that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
Supreme Court spokesman Nurhadi, who goes by a single name, said two separate panels of judges had ruled against Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudra — on Aug. 23 and Sept. 19 respectively — because their lawyers provided no new evidence countering earlier verdicts at lower courts.
The court previously announced that it has also rejected an appeal by a third Bali bomber on death row, Gufron's younger brother, Amrozi Nurhasyim.
The three men all admitted in court to planning and carrying out the attacks, which they have said were meant to punish the U.S. and its Western allies for alleged atrocities in Afghanistan. They showed no remorse and taunted relatives of the victims in court.
Nurhadi said the only way for the men to avoid the death penalty would be to ask Indonesia's president for clemency — something the militants have said they will not do because they stand by their actions.
Lawyers for the three men, who are awaiting a firing squad for the twin nightclub attacks, argued that the convictions were illegal because they were based on an anti-terror law that was applied retroactively.
"Their appeals were rejected," Nurhadi said, "They will face capital punishment."
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks in recent years blamed on the Al Qaeda-linked and mostly Afghan-trained militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, the first and most deadly being the Oct. 12, 2002, bombings on the resort island of Bali.
The three are among more than 30 people convicted in those blasts. They confessed to participating in the plot and initially accepted their death sentences, saying they wanted to die as martyrs.
But in July, they asked their lawyers to appeal, noting that the Constitutional Court ruled in mid-2004 that tough new laws — passed after the Bali bombings — could not be used in cases predating their adoption.
In the Antara report late Monday, Nurhadi did not explain why the Supreme Court had allowed retroactive use of the anti-terror law.
It was not immediately clear whether the three convicts have any further legal options to fight their death sentence. Nurhadi gave no indication when the executions would be carried out.