JAKARTA: An alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people will be repatriated soon to Indonesia from Pakistan where he was arrested this year, the foreign minister said Friday.
The most wanted Islamic extremist in Southeast Asia, Umar Patek, was arrested in March in Abbottabad in Pakistan, the same town where US special forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden just weeks later.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the alleged coordinator of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people would be extradited to Indonesia “soon rather than later”.
He told journalists the government wanted to ensure the process “proceeds smoothly” and did not give the alleged terrorist a stage to rally his supporters.
“We do not want to create self-fulfilling, self-creating attention to a person who doesn’t deserve publicity,” Natalegawa said.
Authorities are continuing to investigate Patek to “ensure that he is held accountable for the crime,” which he allegedly committed before Indonesia had a specific anti-terrorism law on its books.
Born in 1970, Patek is a suspected member of the al Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
In addition to the Bali bombings, he is also suspected of involvement in a series of deadly attacks targeting Christians and Westerners in Indonesia dating back to 1999.