Plea expected in Indonesia terror trial
By the CNN Wire Staff
February 20, 2012 — Updated 0555 GMT (1355 HKT)
- Umar Patek has been one of Indonesia’s most wanted terrorists
- His trial on charges related to the Bali bombing began last week in Jakarta
- Patek was seized in the same Pakistani city where Osama bin Laden was killed
(CNN) — Umar Patek, an Indonesian man accused of assembling the bombs used in the 2002 Bali attacks, is expected to enter a plea Monday at his trial in Jakarta.
Patek faces charges including premeditated murder, and a maximum penalty of death if convicted. The bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali killed 202 people, including foreign tourists.
He also faces charges of bringing in illegal weapons; giving weapons and explosives training; and planning and assembling explosives for church bombings in Jakarta in 2000.
The 44-year-old Patek was one of Indonesia’s most wanted terrorists, with a $1 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government’s “Rewards for Justice” program.
After almost a decade on the run, Patek was arrested on January 25, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A few months after his capture, U.S. Navy SEALs found and killed al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in the Pakistani city. Patek was extradited to Indonesia in August.
His trial, which is expected to go on for months, began last week. The initial session lasted less than two hours after Patek’s lawyers asked for another week to respond to the charges.
The defense team last week criticized the charges as being vague.
“In many ways, how he was linked to terrorism, and how it was classified as premeditated murder — I think for the defense team, the charges are disproportionate and too far from the truth,” said Husni Syaifuddin, one of the defense lawyers.
Indonesian authorities allege that Patek admitted his role in the Bali attacks to investigators, saying he helped assemble the explosives.
Patek is one of the last figures associated with a splinter group of the terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, responsible for the Bali bombings and other major attacks on Indonesian soil.
Many in that group, like Patek, trained and fought in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 1990s and were deeply influenced by bin Laden’s teachings.
Three of the masterminds of the Bali bombings — Imam Samudra, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron — were executed in 2008.
Patek fled to Mindanao in the southern Philippines with several other Indonesian militants. One of them was Dulmatin, another former JI member, who returned to Indonesia and helped set up a military-style training camp in province of Aceh. He was killed in a police raid just outside Jakarta in October 2010.
Patek is also charged with failing to disclose knowledge he had about the militant training camp. According to Ismail, Patek refused an offer to train at the camp and instead chose to leave for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Indonesian authorities have tried and convicted hundreds of terrorists since the 2002 bombing. The arrests of senior militants with combat experience have weakened the terror network and its capability to launch major attacks.
According to recent reports by the International Crisis Group, the terror threat in the country remains but has shifted to attacks on Indonesian authorities, with smaller groups or radicalized individuals targeting the police.