Bali bomber shows remorse, condemns ISIS' violence

Ali Imron was spared the death penalty as he had shown contrition and had cooperated with the police.
Ali Imron was spared the death penalty as he had shown contrition and had cooperated with the police.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

JAKARTA • The only surviving member of the terror cell behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombing has condemned the actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as expressing regret for his own actions.

"We still dream of establishing a country based on Islamic values, but in a good way. It is wrong to reach this goal through bomb attacks like we once did," the Jakarta Globe quoted Ali Imron, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the Oct 12, 2002 attack that killed 202 people, as saying on Wednesday at the Jakarta police headquarters.

He said the violence committed by ISIS was not in line with the true ideals of jihad.

"If I ever meet (ISIS) members, (I would explain to them) that that is not what jihad is," the Jakarta Globe quoted him as saying.

"I am ready to advocate (against ISIS) if I am free. The government can translate (my readiness) however they want."

Jakarta police chief Tito Karnavian was quoted as expressing the hope that Indonesians will take heed of Ali Imron's advice, coming from a former militant, and refrain from joining ISIS.

Ali Imron, 45, the brother of Bali bombing masterminds Amrozi and Mukhlas who were executed in 2008, had driven the van carrying the bombs involved in the attack.

He was nabbed in January 2003, but spared from the death penalty as he had shown contrition over his actions and cooperated with the police. He has been tapped by the authorities to help in counter-terrorism activities ever since.

One of the reparations he has made included meeting families of the victims of the bombing at a Jakarta prison earlier this year to apologise to them directly.

"I apologise to everyone, especially the victims and their families," the Jakarta Post quoted him as saying during that meeting, which was organised by Australian public broadcasting network SBS for its show, Dateline.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'Bali bomber shows remorse, condemns ISIS' violence'. Subscribe