Vehement Denials in Patek’s Final Attempt To Evade Life in Jail
Bali bombing suspect Umar Patek presented a dramatic final defense in his terrorism trial on Thursday, denying that he had met with Dulmatin, one of the planners of the atrocity, to set up a paramilitary training camp in Aceh.
“I never joined the meeting to plan the training at Dulmatin’s place,” he told the West Jakarta District Court.
“If the court can find witnesses who saw me meet Dulmatin to set up the Aceh camp, I am ready to have my head cut off right here today.”
Among the charges that Patek faces is withholding information about the camp, which was raided by police in early 2010.
Proving his participation in establishing the camp is central to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, for which prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Patek.
The 45-year-old also denied allegations that he was involved in making the bombs used in the Bali attack in 2002, in which 202 people died, saying that he only mixed the chemicals for the bomb without knowing where it would be used.
He argued that even if he had not done so, the bombing would have gone ahead anyway.
“I have stated in this court that I did not agree to waging jihad [holy war] in this country. Bali is not Palestine. I even told my colleagues to use the money for the bombing to send members to Palestine, but to no avail. I beg you, differentiate between mixing the ingredients and making a bomb,” Patek said.
In addition to putting together the car bomb for the Bali attack, Patek is also charged with making the bombs used is a series of coordinated attacks on churches nationwide on Christmas Eve in 2000.
Prosecutors are also pursuing premeditated murder charges in both cases, as well as an illegal weapons possession charge related to his smuggling assault rifles into the country from the Philippines in 2009.
However, Patek denied all the charges, saying that he never had any guns. He claimed the prosecutors’ indictment had simply been “copy-pasted” from the charge sheet drawn up by police.
“I don’t deserve a life sentence. It’s too heavy for what I have done,” he said.
Patek’s lawyer, Asludin Hatjani, previously called on the court to throw out the charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
He added the only charges that his client would admit to were two charges of document fraud, related to Patek’s submission of false documents to obtain Indonesian passports for himself and his Filipina wife, which carry a maximum sentence of seven years.
Patek was once the most-wanted terror suspect in Indonesia and spent nearly a decade on the run with the US offering a $1 million bounty on his head under its rewards for justice program.
He was arrested in January 2011 in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, the same place where Osama bin Laden was killed four months later.
Additional reporting from Antara