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    » 06/22/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Anger and confusion among Bali victims' families after Umar Patek sentenced to 20 years

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Yesterday, the West Jakarta District Court convicted the mastermind of the 2002 attack that killed more than 200 people. Legal experts blame the public prosecutor for the lenient sentence. Relatives are upset by the "disappointing" verdict, which does not serve justice. Defence lawyers will decide whether to launch an appeal to reduce the sentence.

    Jakarta (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.

    Legal 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.

    Born in 1970 in Pekalongan Regency (District), central Java, Umar Patek (pictured) is an Indonesian of Arab descent.

    He is 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.

    Bali resident Wayan Sudiana's wife died in the attack. "Teh brutal way" he lost his lifetime companion is still fresh in his mind.

    When the sentence was read, he could not hide his disappointment for such a "lenient" sentence, less than what he expected.

    The verdict 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.

    He, 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.

    Priyanto 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.

    This did not happen. Now thoughts are for the wounded and all those who "suffered in their bodies" and cannot "earn a decent living."

    What makes 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 court.

    Head of 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.

    As bomb 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.

    Before Bali, he is thought to have cooperate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the southern Philippines.

    Known for 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.

    After months of drawn out negotiations between Jakarta and Islamabad, he was handed over to Indonesian authorities.

    At the trial, Patek claimed that in the attacks against churches he did not intend to kill "innocent" victims "unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

    Umar 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.

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    See also

    01/04/2011 INDONESIA – PAKISTAN
    Jakarta confirms the arrest in Pakistan of Umar Patek, mastermind of the Bali bombings
    Indonesian intelligence Chief General Sutanto said that the terrorist was wounded during a gunfight with police. Of Arab origins, he is thought to have organised the 2002 attack that left 202 people dead. A leader in Jemaah Islamiyah, Patek trained prominent terrorists like Noordin Moh Top and established ties with Abu Sayyaf and al Qaeda.

    23/05/2012 INDONESIA
    Umar Patek, who masterminded the Bali and church bombings, asks for forgiveness
    Dubbed 'demolition man', the Muslim extremist acknowledges his guilt and errors. "I am sorry for my misdeed," he said. Reactions from ordinary Indonesians are mixed. Some hope for real redemption; others suspect he might be trying to avoid prison.

    09/11/2005 INDONESIA
    Azahari bin Husin, one of the most dangerous men in South-East Asia, is dead
    Indonesian police chief confirms the information. He allegedly blew himself up trying to escape from the police. He was thought to have been involved in the deadliest suicide attacks in Indonesia.

    11/08/2011 INDONESIA – PAKISTAN
    Umar Patek, mastermind of the Bali massacre and several church bombings, is extradited
    Pakistan has handed over the Muslim extremist, author of the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings. His transfer has been expected for months. Now he is being held in the headquarters of Special Forces in Depok, West Java. He is cooperating, according to police, but the truthfulness of what he is saying must still be checked.

    23/02/2010 INDONESIA
    Muhammad Jibril acknowledges ties to Noordin Top, denies involvement in attacks against hotels
    Speaking to the judges, he said Malaysian terrorist was his “mentor”, but rejects accusations that he raised funds for the 17 July Jakarta massacre. Anti-terrorist police arrests three suspects in Aceh Besar, an area allegedly used for training purposes. Syawal Yasin is the new leader of the Indonesia Mujahedeen Council.



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