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Indonesia court to deliver verdict on Bali bombmaker

June 21, 2012


Indonesian terror suspect Umar Patek walks in front of the judges during his trial at a Jakarta court on March 22, 2012. - Photo by AFP

JAKARTA: An Indonesian court is due to hand down its verdict on Thursday on accused bombmaker Umar Patek for his role in the 2002 Bali attacks, bringing to an end a 10-year probe into the nation's deadliest act of terror.

Patek, 45, is accused of assembling explosives for twin suicide bombings on a bar and a nightclub in Bali that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, and church attacks in Jakarta on Christmas Eve in 2000 that killed 19.

The West Jakarta district court is expected to deliver its verdict before noon (0500 GMT) on charges including premeditated murder, illegal firearms possession and bombmaking, wrapping up a four-month trial that began in February.

Patek, dubbed “Demolition Man” by local media, cannot be charged for the attacks under the country's terrorism laws, which were implemented in 2003.

Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence - sparing him the maximum penalty of death by firing squad - as Patek has shown remorse during the trial.

Patek testified in court that he played a minor role in assembling the explosives, saying he mixed only 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of chemicals out of a tonne.

He claimed he was “against it from the start” and had tried to stop the attack at the 11th hour by suggesting waging jihad abroad. He has also apologised.

The attacks triggered a long crackdown on terrorism in Indonesia, focused on weakening the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network responsible for the bombings. Patek is the last suspect detained in Indonesia to be tried over the Bali attacks.

The only suspect yet to be tried is Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, who allegedly helped orchestrate the attacks and has been detained at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay since 2006, accused of having financial links to al Qaeda.

Prosecutor Bambang Suharyadi said last month that the Patek verdict would close the chapter of the Bali bombings and that “Indonesians and the international community have long waited for this case to be over.”

Prior to his arrest, Patek was the most-wanted terror suspect in Indonesia and the United States had a $1 million bounty on his head.

After more than eight years on the run, he was arrested in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in January 2011, where US commandos killed bin Laden four months later, raising suspicions that he might have wanted to meet the al Qaeda chief, which he denied.

He was extradited to Indonesia in August.