Indonesian judges have delivered their verdict on the last of the Bali bombers, finding Umar Patek guilty of constructing two bombs that killed more than 200 people in the October 2002 blasts, detonated outside two nightclubs along the Kuta-Legian strip. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Throughout the hearing Patek, 45, insisted he wasn’t responsible for plotting the attack, that he only mixed the chemicals used in the bomb, he showed remorse, apologized to the families, and the judges appeared to side with the defense, even after prosecutors decided to seek a life sentence as opposed to the death penalty. He faced six charges, including terrorist related allegations.
The defense argued that Patek had urged Imam Samudra – executed in 2008 for his role in the bombings – not to proceed with the strike designed to kill white people in retaliation for Western policies on Palestine.
Patek claimed he didn’t agree and argued that Muslims would also be killed. Instead, he apparently urged Samudra to re-focus his efforts to establish a Holy War on Pakistan.
The five-member bench described the 2002 Bali bombing as the worst attack to hit Indonesian soil. Hundreds were also injured and the verdict was patiently waited on by the families of victims around the world.
Judges began delivering their verdict at 9:00 am and continued well into the evening with the bench reading each page of the 273-page finding as scores of police stood guard over the senior militant from Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist outfit dubbed the “Demolition Man”.
The verdict included testimony from more than 40 witnesses. Clad in white cotton, Patek was surrounded mainly by journalists, photographers and security.
Patek’s wife, Ruqayyah binti Husein Luceno, from the Philippines, is serving 27-month jail term for immigration violations, while Patek also faced additional charges over the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings in Indonesia, which killed 19.
In evidence given by Patek, the court heard that Azahari bin Husin and Dulmatin were in charge of putting the bomb together. Both were shot dead in a police raid, while all other Bali bombers have been killed, jailed or executed.
Patek provided court officials with a tour of Jalan Pulau Menjangan in Denpasar, where the bombs were built and stored; the United States consulate, where a bomb was detonated on the same evening; and the sites of the Sari Club and Paddy’s Pub, where the main bombs were detonated.
Re-enactments included a lift to a bus terminal on a motorcycle originally driven by Dulmatin, and the interaction between the bombers.
Patek had trained in Afghanistan in 1994 alongside other JI members, and carried a $1 million bounty on his head. He was Asia’s most wanted terrorist when arrested in northwest Pakistan early last year.
He was found not far from the house where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had found sanctuary but was killed by a team of U.S. Navy seals in May. His death and Patek’s arrest marked the end of a tragic era in Southeast Asia, where the likes of JI had claimed to be fighting for an Islamic caliphate.