Execution is Imminent for Bali Nightclub Bombers

According to a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) that specializes in conflict prevention and resolution worldwide, "Some (prisoners) have then accepted that attacks on civilians, such as the first and second Bali bombings and the Australian embassy bombing, were wrong. The economic aid, however, is ultimately more important than religious arguments in changing prisoner attitudes."

Abas remains on the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List maintained by the 1267 Committee that implements freezing assets, travel bans and arms embargos on individuals and entities linked to terrorist groups.

The Committee is aware of Abas' current activities aiding police in Indonesia and supports any activities likely to reduce threats posed by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and their associates.

Abas is also on the foreign assets control list maintained by the US Department of the Treasury.

While deradicalization efforts continue within prison walls, corruption and activity to strengthen terrorist networks also exists. Prisoners with time on their hands help recruit and translate JI websites and publications for local distribution.

Measuring the success of deradicalization programs is difficult. Abas will not talk about how many people he has converted or speaks with regularly.

"One of the key problems is how do you define working? When do you know that a person has been deradicalized? Is it when they accept funds from their former enemy ie the police?" asks American Sidney Jones, senior advisor for ICG. "Is it when they are willing to say yes, yes to Nasir while they are still in prison? Is it after they are released from prison and are invited to join an operation and refuse?"

In Abas' case, the once instructor of operating small arms, rifles, rocket launchers and artillery guns, recalls when the tables turned, and it was not on his own terms.

In 2003 he was arrested. "They (police) are pointing guns against me but I don't run away. I rush them. I run towards them, hoping they would shoot at me," says Abas, who had trained his men that it is better to die than to be arrested.

But not one bullet was fired and after what Abas describes as "kung-fu fighting", police had broken limbs and Abas ended up wearing three pairs of handcuffs and his legs were tied.

"I'm thinking, why god not let me die? I tried. I tried," says the former commander who was stunned that he was arrested. He thought he would have died first and to do so by his own hand, he considers sinful.

That night in jail and until the first call to prayer at dawn, the only words Abas spoke were "God forgive me" in Arabic. After many prayers and self exploration, Abas came to terms with his own beliefs and his past.

Though Abas did serve time in prison, he is now a free man.

Having watched Abas over the last 3-4 years, Jones is convinced he has changed. "I don't think there's any going back now," she says, "And yet I'm also convinced that if there was an attack on Muslims in the region in a major way by a western power or by a non-Muslim power, he would be the first to volunteer."

"I believe that I am doing good deeds so god will protect me," Abas tells ABC News.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...