Indonesian court jails Bali bombmaker for 20 years

Posted at 06/21/12 10:16 PM

JAKARTA - An Indonesian court convicted bombmaker Umar Patek Thursday for his role in the 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 people and sentenced him to 20 years' jail, ending a decade-long probe into the atrocity.

Patek was found guilty of premeditated murder and bombmaking in connection with the suicide bombings on a nightclub and bar on the resort island, Indonesia's deadliest act of terror.

"He's been proven to have committed an evil conspiracy by bringing in firearms and ammunition for terror acts," chief judge Encep Yuliardi told the West Jakarta district court after an 11-hour hearing.

"He hid information about acts of terror and he is found to have taken part in premeditated murder. We sentence Umar Patek to 20 years in jail."

Patek was found guilty of all six charges against him, some of which related to Christmas Eve bomb attacks in 2000 on churches in Jakarta.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Patek, sparing him the firing squad -- which has executed three other key players in the Bali bombings -- because he had shown remorse and apologised to victims and their families.

Patek maintained over the four-month trial that he played only a small role in the bombmaking and that he had tried to stop the operation, most of whose victims were foreigners, at the 11th hour.

After more than eight years on the run, he was arrested in January 2011 in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where US commandos four months later killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a raid.

Patek is the last key player detained in Indonesia to be tried for the attacks and the verdict closes the chapter on a long legal process.

Victims, mostly Australian, have recounted their harrowing experiences in trials over the years, showing judges their scars from shrapnel wounds and burns, and describing psychological trauma.