Indonesian Court Sentences Bali Bomber to 20 Years

Posted June 21st, 2012 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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An Indonesian militant accused of helping build a car bomb used in the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub attacks that killed 202 people has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Umar Patek, dubbed “Demolition Man” by Indonesian media, was charged with premeditated murder and several other counts, including bomb making and illegal firearms possession.

An Indonesian court found Patek guilty of the charges as well as for his role in deadly attacks on Christian churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve of 2000.

Prosecutors had requested a life sentence rather than the death penalty for Patek, who expressed remorse for the bombings which killed mostly foreign tourists on the popular resort island.

Patek was a leading member of the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah. He was captured last year in the same northwestern Pakistani town where U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Patek said the bombs already were being assembled as he arrived in Bali and said he just helped mix less than 50 kilograms of explosives used in the bombings.

Damien Kingsbury, an Indonesian analyst at Australia's Deakin University, told VOA the trial of Patek – the last key suspect to be tried in the Bali attacks – could represent the symbolic end of Jemaah Islamiyah.

“The trial of Umar Patek essentially finishes the trials, or the captures or the killings, of the Bali bombers. So this really puts an end to this particular saga, and it really spells an end to an era in which Jemaah Islamiyah, the noted Islamic terror organization, was active.”

The Bali attacks and a string of others aimed at foreigners in Indonesia over the past decade have been blamed on members of Jemaah Islamiyah, which advocated creating an Islamic state spanning much of Southeast Asia.