Bali bomb-maker Umar Patek jailed for 20 years

 
Umar Patek, centre, accompanied by his lawyer Ashludin Hatjani, right, speaks at West Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, 7 May, 2012 Umar Patek says he played a more minor role than prosecutors have alleged

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An Indonesian court has convicted a militant of making explosives used in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings and sentenced him to 20 years in jail.

Umar Patek was found guilty of murder and bomb-making in connection with the Bali attacks, which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreigners.

He admitted helping mix chemicals, but said he was not involved beyond that.

Prosecutors did not ask for the death penalty after Patek apologised to victims and their families.

Patek was found guilty of all six charges, some terrorism-related, that he was facing.

Analysis

The judges delivered their verdict in a keenly watched trial. After the verdict was announced, Mr Patek appeared calm and composed, shaking the hands of the judges.

He could have faced the death penalty - the maximum punishment for some of the charges against him in Indonesia is death by firing squad.

But prosecutors said Mr Patek had shown remorse during the trial, consistently apologising for his role in the attacks, and even going as far as to say he was against the Bali bombings from the start. That is why they only asked for a term of life in prison. In the end, he received less than that - 20 years in jail.

It is still not clear whether his lawyers will lodge an appeal - but this verdict has given Indonesia the opportunity to close the chapter on the deadly Bali blasts, which changed the image of this country as a safe place.

This included charges relating to attacks on churches in Jakarta, which killed 19 people on Christmas Eve 2000.

He is the last key player to be tried in Indonesia in relation to the Bali attacks.

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani, in Jakarta, says that for many in the country, and around the world, this is an opportunity to close the chapter on the tragic events of 2002.

'Bombers' executed

The Bali attacks targeted Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club in the resort of Kuta. Those killed were from 21 countries, including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians and 28 Britons.

The bombings were blamed on the Jemaah Islamiah militant network.

Three men were executed in 2008 for playing key roles in the attacks and two others have been killed in raids.

Patek, whose trial began in February, was arrested in January 2011 in Abbottabad, the Pakistani town where Osama Bin Laden was later killed in a US raid.

He was extradited to Indonesia in August 2011.

Bali bombings 12 Oct 2002

Police inspect devastation in Kuta, Bali on 13 October 2002 after the attacks
  • Paddy's Bar and Sari Club in the resort of Kuta targeted, 202 killed from 21 countries
  • Militant group Jemaah Islamiah blamed for the bombings
  • Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron (Mukhlas) executed in Nov 2008 for planning the attacks
  • Alleged attack planner Dulmatin (2010) and bomb-maker Azahari Husin (2005) killed
  • Another suspect Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin) is being held in Guantanamo Bay

Police were deployed to guard the court, which opened its session at 09:20 (02:20 GMT). Snipers were positioned in and around the court buildings for the final session.

Judges read the charges and a long summary of witness testimony before delivering their verdict.

Lawyers for Umar Patek sought to play down his role in the Bali blasts, saying he was involved in the preparation of the bombs but not in carrying out the attacks.

Patek himself has admitted helping to assemble the explosives, but said he was not the chief bomb-maker, as prosecutors alleged.

Patek, who is reportedly known as "demolition man," asked for ''forgiveness'' in court, saying he was against the attacks "from the start".

After the judgement, one of the lawyers in Patek's defence team, Ashluddin Hatjani, said his client was "not angry" but "sad" at the verdict.

"He was disappointed. It was too heavy compared to the sentences for other terrorists with bigger roles," he said.

 

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