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DENPASAR, Indonesia - The first hearing date has been set for the review of the death sentence of the three key 2002 Bali bombers, despite a defence plea to move the trial location away from Bali.

Denpasar District Court - where the death sentence was first handed to "smiling bomber" Amrozi, his brother Ali Ghufron, alias Mukhlas and Imam Samudra - will hear the reopening of the case for the first time on December 22.

Lawyers for the trio last week filed their Supreme Court challenge to the executions, arguing the anti-terrorism law used to convict the men was retroactive because it was introduced after the 2002 bombings and could not be applied.

The men were convicted of playing lead roles in the Bali nightclub attacks, which killed 202 people, including three New Zealanders and 88 Australians.

The executions of the bombers - originally set down for July - was delayed after their lawyers said they planned to lodge the judicial review in the Indonesian Supreme Court months ago.

One of the lawyers for the three said today that a letter had been sent to the District Court in an attempt to move the location of the judicial review hearing from Bali to Cilacap, in Central Java's north, where the three are now being held.

It is the second attempt to move proceedings away from Bali because of security and costs.

However, District Court Chief Putu Widnya said the plaintiffs were not required to attend the hearing.

"From what I have read, the new evidence is a constitutional court decree, so they don't need to come to Bali," he said.

"They have registered it here, so the trial must be held here too."

There have been several demonstrations by the Balinese locals calling for the execution of the three since their conviction in 2003.

The demonstrations have sometimes disintegrated into violence.

After the second bombing in 2005, protesters swarmed Kerobokan prison where the trio were then being held, throwing rocks at the prison walls and breaking down the outer fence.

The next day, the bombers were moved to Nusakambangan Island in central Java.