Survivors of Bali bombings relive horror

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Survivors of Bali bombings relive horror

Survivors of Bali bombings relive horror

Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Anstee (centre) showing judges the scars on his leg.

JAKARTA: Australian and US survivors of the 2002 Bali attacks Thursday relived the horror of seeing burning victims and their friends killed as they testified in the trial of the alleged bomb-maker.

 

Prosecutors accuse Umar Patek, who was arrested last year in the same Pakistani town where US commandos later killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, of building the bombs that killed 202 people on Bali, mostly Western tourists.

 

Jason McCartney, an Australian sportsman who became a national hero for his fighting spirit after he survived burns to nearly half his body, rolled up his sleeves and trouser legs to show judges his scars.

 

"I saw the building on fire, I saw people on fire, then I realised I was on fire," McCartney said, telling the West Jakarta District Court he was relaxing with friends at a bar when he was knocked to the ground by an explosion.

 

Two bombs exploded in Bali's Kuta tourist strip on October 12, 2002, one at Paddy's Irish Bar and the second shortly after in a van outside the nearby Sari club.

 

McCartney, an Australian rules football star before the attack, recounted the agony of his burns, the financial burden of hospital bills, and the pain of not being able to return to professional sport.

 

"I do still have a great love for Indonesia, and Bali in particular. But I also have sadness about what happened, not only to me, but many other innocent people -- and anger," the 38-year-old from Victoria told the court.

 

Steven Cabler, an American rock musician from California who was on a surfing trip in Bali with friends at the time of the attack, recalled the devastation and death at the Sari club.

 

"When the explosion happened, it was big, it was massive, and I hit my head very hard against my friend's head, and had some fluid on me, and (it) exploded my eardrums," said Cabler, who lost the hearing in his left ear.

 

"The bomb was like the power of a hurricane, I just want to say it was massive," he recalled.

 

Cabler's friend Steve Webster died in the attack.

 

"He's dead. We cremated what was left of his body at home," the 51-year-old testified.

 

Two other Australian survivors, Peter Hughes and Stuart Anstee, also recalled scenes of horror and tragedy in their testimony, as prosecutors built their case against the accused bomb-maker.

 

Patek, 45, went on trial in February, charged with murder, bomb-making and illegal firearms possession. Prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty.

 

According to the indictment he was involved in assembling the bombs for the Bali attacks and also strikes on churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve of 2000.