(AsiaNews) - The prevailing atmosphere in Indonesia is one confusion, anger and
calls for justice after a "disappointing" verdict failed to give victims and their
family some shred of dignity and peace. This comes a day after Umar Patek, aka 'demolition
man,' was handed down a 20-year sentence for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings
that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, and for masterminding the
Christmas church attacks two years earlier.
experts and civil society leaders have blamed the public prosecutor for failing
to convince the judges to impose life in prison. However, the overall impression
is one of utter failure of the justice system. The only concrete reality is the
discouragement of the relatives of the victims, deeply pained by the sentence.
1970 in Pekalongan Regency (District), central Java, Umar Patek (pictured)
is an Indonesian of Arab descent.
considered the mastermind behind the 12 October 2002 Bali bombings that killed
202 people, mostly foreign tourists, especially Australia. Hundreds of people
were also wounded and maimed in the attack.
Wayan Sudiana's wife died in the attack. "Teh brutal way" he lost his lifetime
companion is still fresh in his mind.
sentence was read, he could not hide his disappointment for such a "lenient" sentence,
less than what he expected.
by the West Jakarta District Court "is unfair," he told AsiaNews. It does not meet the "demand for justice" that came from Indonesian
society during the trial.
like other relatives, would have preferred to have had the trial held on the
island where the massacre took place. Under Indonesian law, the court where a
crime is committed has jurisdiction. In Patek's case, the trial was held in the
capital amid tight security.
is also angry with the judge for his verdict. He survived the attack and was called
to testify during the trial several times, bringing with him the anger and desire
for justice of the victims and their families. For them, he expected a "tougher
sentence, including the death penalty.
not happen. Now thoughts are for the wounded and all those who "suffered in
their bodies" and cannot "earn a decent living."
the victims and their relatives angrier is the sense that the terrorist's
request for forgiveness a few weeks ago was a charade, designed only to get the
sympathy of the judges and, during the sentencing phase, the clemency of the
the group that carried out the first Bali attack (2002), Patek was also responsible
for various attacks against churches. He was seen as a top operative within Jemaah
Islamiyah who built ties with al Qaeda.
expert, the Indonesian terrorist is thought to have trained two other prominent
Malaysian Islamic terrorist: Azahari and Noordin Moh Top. The latter died in a police raid.
he is thought to have cooperate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the southern Philippines.
his many pseudonyms (Umar Kecil, Pak Taek, Abu Syekh, Zacky), 'demolition man"
was arrested in January 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the same place where al
Qaeda's leader and founder Osama bin Laden was killed.
of drawn out negotiations between Jakarta and Islamabad, he
was handed over to Indonesian authorities.
trial, Patek claimed that in the attacks against churches he did not intend to
kill "innocent" victims "unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
Patek's lawyers said that they have not yet decided whether to accept the
20-year sentence or launch an appeal to have it reduced.