Insisting that his role was minor and that he was remorseful over the devastation, Bali suspect
Umar Patek, on trial for his alleged role in the 2002 Bali bombings, told the West Jakarta District Court Thursday (May 31st) that he felt deep remorse over the terror attack. Insisting that his role in the plot had been a minor one, he asked the judges for leniency.
“I felt so upset and guilty when I saw the bomb killed many people. I said to [the attackers] that it was my last involvement in this kind of activity,” he told the court.
“It needs to be understood that whether I came or I did not come to Bali, the 2002 Bali bomb incident would have still happened because they had been working on their plan. The bomb which was detonated on October 12th, 2002 was not due to my active involvement, because I had been strongly against the idea,” Patek said.
He said he had mixed only 50kg of chemicals, compared to the remaining 950kg prepared by others, and that he had done so with reluctance. The plot was “against my conscience”, the defendant said, reiterating his earlier expressions of regret.
A total of 202 people died as bombs went off in quick succession at two locations. The first, hidden in a suicide bomber’s backpack, exploded at Paddy’s Pub in the Kuta nightclub district. Twenty seconds later, a massive car bomb destroyed the nearby Sari Club and surrounding areas.
Patek – dubbed “Demolition Man” in the media – had begun his trial with the reputation of having masterminded the attack, but his defense team has argued this was far from the case.
Reading from a 31-page, handwritten defense statement which he said took him two weeks to prepare, Patek drew a sharp comparison between himself and Muhammad Ihsan, also known as Idris, who received a 10-year sentence for his role in the 2003 bombing of Jakarta’s JW Marriott Hotel but acquitted in the Bali attack.
Idris, he alleged, knew what the Bali bombing targets were, had surveyed the area, and received as much as $30,000 to aid with the plot — whereas he, Patek, was mostly in the dark. He voiced hope that the judges would give him a proportionately lighter sentence.
“All this time, the mass media have been reporting that I had a big role in the incident, as if I was the one who assembled [the bomb], Patek told a press conference after the hearing. “But the trial’s facts have proved that my role is minor… I am only a deer, not an elephant.”
In a trial session on Monday, Patek’s attorneys recommended that he be jailed for less than fifteen years. The prosecution disagreed, however, saying a life sentence was appropriate.
The demand for a longer sentence is “based on the facts during the hearing,” prosecutor Bambang Haryadi told reporters, rejecting a claim by Patek that his team had not considered what came to light in the trial.
The trial proceedings will resume on 4 June.