Bali bomber’s lawyers want charges scrapped

Lawyers for the Indonesian militant who helped assemble bombs used in the 2002 nightclub blasts on Bali island said on Monday that the charges against their client are obscure and should be dropped.

They also told the West Jakarta district court that the country’s tough anti-terrorism law can’t be applied retroactively, and because Umar Patek didn’t take part in meetings at which the bombing was initially planned, he also was not guilty of premeditated murder.

The trial for the 45-year-old — known as “Demolition Man” for his expertise with explosives — began last week.

Patek was one of the last few remaining ranking militants with the al-Qaeda-linked regional network Jemaah Islamiyah still on the run when he was arrested a year ago in Pakistan. Intelligence agents found him in Abbottabad, the same northwestern town where Osama bin Laden was killed several months later.

He faces a maximum penalty of death by firing squad if convicted of various terror-related and criminal charges, most of which are tied to the Bali bombings that left 202 people dead, including 88 Australians and seven Americans. It was the deadliest terror strike ever to take place in Asia.


Allegations shot down
Patek, wearing a white flowing gown, waved and smiled at reporters as he entered the courtroom Monday. He sat quietly, listening as his attorneys shot down the allegations.

Ashluddin Hatjani, who headed Patek’s 14-member team of lawyers, said the charges faced by the defendant were “incomplete, obscure and not accurate”. He also argued that because anti-terror legislation wasn’t passed until 2003, it can’t be applied retroactively.

And while Patek has admitted assembling the explosives, he did so at the request of one of the Bali bombing masterminds, Imam Samudra, who was executed in 2008, Hatjani said. Patek had no way of knowing how they would be used, he said.

Last week, prosecutors said Patek helped assemble detonating cords and boosters for the bombs as well as the suicide vests strapped to the militants who walked into two nightclubs throbbing on a busy Saturday night.

They said Patek left Bali for the city of Surabaya on October 11 2002 — one day before the blasts.

Prosecutors have also accused him of helping teach militants how to use assault rifles for a terrorist training camp that was uncovered in Aceh province in early 2010.

Hatjani denied that charge, as well as other weapons smuggling allegations. — Sapa-AP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Eastern Cape schools to only open for grades 3, 6...

The province says the increase in Covid-19 cases has made it re-evaluate some decisions

Malawi celebrates independence day, but the first president left his...

The historical record shows that Malawi’s difficulties under Hastings Banda were evident at the very moment of the country’s founding

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku’s first rule: Don’t panic

As Gauteng braces for its Covid-19 peak, the province’s MEC for health, Bandile Masuku, is putting his training to the test as he leads efforts to tackle the impending public health crisis
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday