4 survivors of Bali bombings testify at trial

AP News
Posted: Apr 05, 2012 8:15 AM
4 survivors of Bali bombings testify at trial

Four foreign victims of the 2002 Bali bombings testified Thursday in the trial of an Indonesian militant accused of helping to build the massive car bomb used in the terrorist attack.

Australians Jason McCartney, Peter Hughes and Stuart Anstee and American Steven William Cabler told an Indonesian court how explosives carried in a backpack and a van destroyed two packed nightclubs. The attack was Asia's most deadly terror strike and killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.

Umar Patek, 45, a leading member of the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested last year in Pakistan. He is the last key suspect to be tried in the Bali bombings and faces a possible death penalty if found guilty of various terror-related and criminal charges.

Prosecutors plan to use the testimonies of the foreign victims to support their sentencing demand.

Cabler, a 51-year-old musician from California, said he was sitting with two friends at the Sari Club when the explosions occurred.

"I heard some yelling on the street that caught my attention and I could see some people running," he said of the first blast at Paddy's Pub.

Moments later, a much larger explosion ripped through the Sari Club and "burned the retinas of my eyes," he said.

Cabler recalled how he tried to help his best friend, Steve Webster, a surfing buddy from Southern California who was hit by a piece of roof ripped off by the second explosion.

"He was screaming underneath the roof," Cabler said. "I tried to pull him out but it was too hard because there was too much fire."

Cabler said his injuries cost him his career as a musician and singer.

"I have brain damage, traumatic brain injury. I can't remember a lot of things. ... My chest is broken, my ribs are stuck like this," he said, pointing to his ribs.

The Australians also recalled the tragedy in their testimony. Hughes, who was badly burned, glared at Patek after testifying.

Patek told Indonesian interrogators after his capture and extradition that he spent nearly a week with co-conspirators in a Bali safehouse, painstakingly assembling the huge car bomb using household items including a rice ladle, a grocer's scale and plastic bags.

But he later denied the charges in court, saying he was present when the bombs were made but did not actually help build them.

He testified that he did not have the expertise to create such a massive explosive and that it was Malaysian bomb maker Azahari bin Husin, killed during a raid by anti-terrorism forces in 2005, who mixed almost all of the chemicals.

Three masterminds in the Bali attack already have been tried and executed, and authorities have made strides in dismantling Jemaah Islamiyah, a movement aimed at creating a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia.