12 Oct 2012

Survivors mark 10 year anniversary of Bali bombing

Survivors and relatives of victims gather at locations across the globe to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Indonesia’s worst terrorist attack.

A total of 202 people from 21 nations were killed when al Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah targeted two Indonesian nightspots packed full of tourists on 12 October 2002.

Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire joined relatives of the 28 Britons who lost their lives in the attack for a closed ceremony at St James’s Park in London.

Mr Swire laid a wreath and gave a short speech explaining how the cruel attack left an “indelible mark” on Britain’s national memory.

“I am reminded of it as I pass this memorial each morning on my way into the office,” Mr Swire explained.

“The bombers hoped to spread terror – and indeed they did. But the legacy of those crimes is not terror. The legacy is the stories of bravery about those who compromised their own safety to help rescue the injured.”

“We find ourselves in this slightly curious position of fighting for the rights of one of the people responsible for the deaths of our relatives,” – Susanna Miller, relative of victim

A service will be held at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden for the relatives of British victims, who have said they want to make sure those responsible are held to account.

Susanna Miller, whose brother Dan, 31, was killed in the attack, has called for open justice for Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, claiming his nine-year detention without charge by the US is a human rights “travesty”.

“We find ourselves in this slightly curious position of fighting for the rights of one of the people responsible for the deaths of our relatives,” Ms Miller explained.

The 45-year-old visited the Foreign Office last week to discuss the issue and a spokesman claimed the matter is being looked into. Ms Miller said some relatives had not travelled to Bali for the anniversary because of security fears.

Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the bombings as “one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in history”.

“As the London memorial states, they were robbed of life, but their spirit enriches ours,” Mr Cameron’s statement said.

Mr Cameron commended Indonesia, the most populous Muslim population on the planet, for firmly rejecting extremism in the wake of the attacks.

Indonesia hosts memorial

In Indonesia there was high security for a memorial ceremony with over 2,000 police and military on guard over fears of a repeat attack.

A row of photographs of victims was displayed during the service with each person’s name read out while candles were lit to represent each nation that lost a citizen.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended along with John Howard, who was the Australian leader at the time of the attacks.

There were 88 Australians among the victims and memorial services were also held across Australia.