Three Islamic militants were executed Saturday for the 2002 nightclub bombings on Indonesia's resort island of Bali that left 202 people dead, many of them foreign tourists, officials and relatives said.
Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and his brother Ali Ghufron were executed at 11:30 p.m. several miles (kilometers) from their high security prison on Nusakambangan island, said Qadar Faisal, one of their lawyers.
Their bodies will be taken by helicopter to their home villages for burial early Sunday.
The Oct. 12, 2002 attacks — allegedly funded by al-Qaida and carried out by members of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah — thrust the world's most populous Muslim nation onto the front lines in the war on terror.
The three men never expressed remorse, saying the blasts were meant to punish the U.S. and its Western allies for alleged atrocities in Afghanistan and elsewhere. They even taunted relatives of victims at their trials five years ago.
As their executions neared, the men publicly expressed hope their executions would trigger revenge attacks in Indonesia, putting the capital on high alert, with extra police deployed at embassies, shopping malls and offices.
Most analysts expect any reaction to be limited to demonstrations, bomb hoaxes and shows of solidarity at the men's funerals, but Ken Conboy, a Jakarta-based security expert, said "everyone should be extra vigilant."
Even small, peaceful rallies "can get fiery and quickly spin out of control," he noted.
Though the three Bali bombers said they were happy to die martyrs, their lawyers fought for years to stop their executions, arguing they were convicted retroactively on anti-terrorism laws.
They also opposed death by firing squad, saying their clients preferred beheadings, because they were more "humane."
The executions were delayed several times, usually without explanation, but Jasman Panjaitan, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office, confirmed Sunday that the men had been killed and their bodies handed over to family members.
Mohamad Chozin said his brothers Nurhasyim, 47, and Ghufron, 48, would be taken to his mother's house, where their pictures were draped across large banners, in the East Java village of Tenggulun. Like many in Indonesia, the brothers do not share the same last name.
Hundreds of sympathizers and students from nearby Islamic boarding schools were expected to line roads and welcome them back as heroes, Chozin and others said.
But in the West Java city of Serang, Nunung, the sister of 38-year-old Samudra, said she and other family members wanted to apologize to victims on his behalf, as they have in the past. She, like many others in the country, goes by just one name.
Militants linked to Jemaah Islamiyah have been blamed for three other suicide bombings since 2002, but the Bali blasts remain the bloodiest, by far.
One attacker walked into Paddy's nightclub on a busy Saturday night, setting off a bomb attached to his vest. Minutes later, a larger car bomb exploded outside the nearby Sari Club, flattening buildings, crumpling vehicles and burning dozens of bodies beyond recognition
The dead included 88 Australians, 28 Britons and eight Americans — most revelers fleeing the first blast.
Samudra, Nurhasyim and Ghufron are among more than 30 people convicted in the attack.