Thursday, June 21, 2012

Disgusting outcome: Bali bomber only given 20 years' jail – why not the death penalty?

BALI bomb-maker Umar Patek has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty over his role in the deaths of 202 people in the Bali bombing, including 88 Australians.

He will spend the next 19 years in custody after the court took into consideration the one year he has been in jail since his arrest.

After taking all day yesterday to review the evidence and read his judgement, chief judge Encep Yuliardi said late last night in the West Jakarta District Court that Patek was "legally and convincingly" guilty of all five charges including premeditated murder.

The other charges were of possessing weapons and smuggling weapons, ammunition and explosive materials into Indonesia, providing assistance to an act of terrorism by hiding information about a terrorist act, forging documents and possessing explosive materials.

Patek claimed during the trial that he should be found not guilty of all except document forgery. He confided in an interview with The Age during that trial that he wanted a short sentence of less than 10 years because he was about to turn 46 and wanted children before it was too late.

He was the last of the Bali bombers to face trial in Indonesia. One, Hambali, has not been tried, but is in prison in Guantanamo Bay over his links to Al Quaeda.

Of the other bombers, three were killed during raids and three more — Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Mukhlas — were executed in 2008 after being found guilty. Others, including the bomb-maker Ali Imron were given jail sentences of up to life imprisonment.

The final day of the trial in the West Jakarta District Court was conducted under massive security, with 243 police officers deployed at the court house including snipers and a platoon of the Australian-funded anti-terror police, Densus 88.

Patek, known in Indonesia as the Demolition Man, was for many years South-East Asia's most wanted man before his arrest, with a $US1 million bounty on his head.

But he spent his trial denying knowledge of the events of October 2002, apologising for the outcome and downplaying his role.

His lawyers asked the court to drop all the terror related charges, and to only find him guilty of passport fraud. During the trial, prosecutors dropped their call for the death penalty, instead asking for life imprisonment.

Patek said in his defence that he only learned after arriving at the resort island in the weeks leading up to the 2002 bombing that westerners were to be the target of the explosive devices he was making, which ultimately killed 202 people.

One of the plotters, Imam Samudra, told him the bombs were designed to kill "bule", white foreigners, only after he arrived at the rented house where the bombs were being made.
He gave evidence that the reason he was given for the bombings was "revenge for what happened to Muslims in Palestine".

But Patek told the five judges in the West Jakarta District Court that he had tried to convince a number of his co-conspirators not to go ahead with the plot, saying they should be attacking Jews in Palestine if they wanted revenge.

Patek said he had mixed only about 50kg of the almost one tonne of explosives that made up the two bombs which devastated two night clubs in downtown Kuta.

In an interview with The Age during the trial, he said he hoped for a sentence of 10 years or less, even though he admitted that, according to his conscience, he was guilty because "I did mix (explosive) materials".

"[The explosives I mixed] was less than 50kg. I am guilty for that but … I believe the panel of judges must consider my motive, they must consider my state of psychology. The panel of judges must consider my disagreement [with the tactics] and that it wasn't my call."

However, he also emphasised that his radical views had not changed.

"My position about jihad remains the same," he said in the interview.

"It is an obligation of every Muslim to carry out jihad" against those who attack Muslims.
"My question was, did the Balinese attack Muslims in Bali? Or did the bule in Bali attacked Muslims? Or were they Jews? I think the correct way is to go to Palestine and fight the Jews who slaughtered Palestinians."

Patek had a long career in Islamic terrorism, having fought with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, and been trained in bomb-making with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

He fled Indonesia shortly after the Bali bombings and was on the run for nine years before being caught in the Pakistan town of Abbottabad just four months before Osama Bin Laden was killed there by American troops.

He says he never met Bin Laden, and did not realise the terrorist mastermind had given $30,000 to fund the Bali bombings. Sydney Morning Herald

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