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Bali bombing trial opens

The trial against Amrozi will reconvene next Monday.
The trial against Amrozi will reconvene next Monday.

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SPECIAL REPORT
JIHAD IN ASIA
A CNN Special Report by Jakarta Bureau Chief Maria Ressa 

DENPASAR, Indonesia (CNN) -- The first suspect charged with the October 12 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people, has gone on trial in an Indonesian court.

The man -- known by only one name, Amrozi -- is charged with four counts of terrorism and has already confessed to police his role in the blasts, saying his motive for the attack was a jihad against Westerners.

After hearing the presentation of the charges against Amrozi, the trial was adjourned for a week, to reconvene next Monday.

Prosecutors read to the court a 33-page indictment accusing the 40-year-old mechanic of four charges related to the nightclub bomb attacks, which killed over 200 people, most of them tourists including 88 Australians.

Police and public prosecutors have said publicly there are confident about their case.

"We feel very strong, all the evidence is very clear and very significant. Of course this very much depends on the prosecutor and the judge but what we have been doing so far on the police side is very strong," said I Made Mangku Pastika, chief investigation of the bombing probe.

Chief defense lawyer Wirawan Adnan told the court the indictment was obscure "because it does not determine whether the defendant is a planner or an executor" of the terror attacks.

Adnan said attending meetings did not qualify Amrozi as a planner, nor did the purchase of chemicals and shipping them to Bali.

Indonesian prosecutors requested an adjournment to give them time to respond to the objections. Chief judge, I Made Karna, said they could respond next Monday.

Defense lawyers also expressed concern the intense media interest in the case -- hundreds of reporters were present at the Bali courthouse Monday -- would prejudice the public against Amrozi.

The bombings -- the worst terrorist attack in Indonesia's recent memory -- have been blamed by police on an al Qaeda-linked militant Islamic group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

They also brought Indonesia's lucrative tourism industry to a standstill -- a situation it has not yet recovered from.

'Clear-cut'

The case was expected to be clear-cut with Amrozi having confessed to buying the chemicals and helping make the bombs in what he told police was a "jihad" or "holy war" against Westerners.

In a public interrogation soon after his arrest on November 5 last year, Amrozi told Indonesian police he was "delighted" by the carnage of the blasts.

The case is expected to run for five months and Amrozi could be executed by firing squad if found guilty of the charges.

Another 32 people also face trial over the attacks -- including the alleged ringleader of the plot, Imam Samudra, and two of Amrozi's older brothers -- suspected bomb-making expert Ali Imron, and Mukhlas, a known leader in JI.

In November, Samudra told police that one of the explosions was detonated by a suicide bomber who walked into Paddy's Irish Bar with explosives strapped to his back, a device he described as a "jihad bomb."

Samudra is also believed to be a key member of JI.

Months later in February, Ali Imron gave a detailed confession in which he described how he put together the bombs, one of which was a car packed with explosives. He said the target was America and its allies.

His confession also included an apology to the families of victims from both inside and outside Indonesia.

However, several other key suspects remain at large, most notably al Qaeda-linked operative known as Hambali, whom police describe as a terrorist mastermind.

The case is being seen as a test of Indonesia's willingness to crack down on radical Islamic groups in what is the world's largest Muslim nation.

-- CNN Correspondent Atika Shubert in Denpasar, Indonesia contributed to this report.


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