The accused Bali bomber’s life should be spared because he regrets his actions and has co-operated with investigators, prosecutors told the West Jakarta District Court.
Prosecutors on Monday (May 21st) said accused Bali bomb maker Umar Patek should spend the rest of his life in jail, but stopped short of seeking the death penalty because they said he had been co-operative and shown remorse.
“We are recommending that Umar Patek be given a life sentence,” prosecutor Bambang Suharyadi said.
Patek, on trial for his alleged role in the 2002 Bali bombings and a spate of attacks on Christian churches two years before that, repeated his apologiesduring his appearance at West Jakarta District Court on Monday.
“I regret what I have done… (and) I apologise to the families of victims who died — Indonesians and foreigners,” said Patek, addressing the victims, their families, the people of Bali, the Christian community, and the local and national governments. “I apologise also to victims who were injured.”
According to Bambang, the defendant should be found guilty of premeditated murder and the use of explosives to commit acts of terrorism, among other charges.
The bombings claimed 202 lives and had a devastating impact on the local people, the prosecutor said, adding that they were rooted in an erroneous interpretation of Islam.
“Patek’s actions, which were motivated by a wrong teaching, caused long and deep suffering among Balinese society,” he said.
However, he added, Patek has acknowledged a role in the attacks and co-operated throughout the judicial process.
“On the top of that, he also regretted his involvement and apologised to the victims and their family in front of the public,” Bambang added.
When his trial began in February, prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty. Imam Samudra and brothers Amrozi and Ali Ghufron, three key figures in the 2002 bombings, were convicted and executed by firing squad in November 2008.
Terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail said it was important that Patek remain alive because of the information he could still yield, according to AFP.
“Patek is an encyclopedia of information on the who’s who of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia,” said Ismail, executive director of the Institute for International Peace Building in Jakarta.
“Unlike the executed Bali bombers he showed remorse, meaning there’s little chance he will try to plan future attacks from jail. He can also be used as a figure to speak out against terrorism,” he said.
Patek is accused of being the expert bomb maker for the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network. Once the most wanted terror suspect in Indonesia, he spent nearly a decade on the run but was captured in January 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was holed up.
During his trial he denied playing a major role in the Bali attacks, saying he only helped mix explosives but did not know how they would be used.
The trial will resume on May 28th, when Patek’s lawyers will read his defense. A verdict is expected June 21st.