JAKARTA, Indonesia – A suspected bombmaker dubbed “Demolition Man”, arrested in the Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed, is to testify Monday, May 7, on his role in Indonesia’s deadliest attacks — the 2002 Bali bombings.
Umar Patek, 45, is accused of assembling bombs in the attacks on two nightclubs in Bali on Oct 12, 2002 — which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians — and on churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve in 2000.
Patek is accused of being the expert bombmaker of the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network and faces six charges including premeditated murder, bombmaking and illegal firearms possession.
Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty for him. Three JI members — Mukhlas, Amrozi and Imam Samudra — were executed by firing squad in November 2008 for their roles in the attacks.
The hearing will open at 9:00 am (0200 GMT) at the West Jakarta district court and Patek is expected to give an in-depth account of the attacks for the first time since the trial began on February 13.
During the trial, evidence emerged that bin Laden gave JI US$30,000 to wage jihad in the region and Patek might have met him when he was in Abbottabad in Pakistan, a claim Patek has repeatedly denied.
Patek also denies he led the bombmaking, admitting to playing only a small role in the attacks.
But a special agent with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation Frank Pellegrino testified in April that Patek was widely-known as an expert bombmaker.
Witness in the Philippines
According to Pellegrino, a witness interviewed by the FBI in the Philippines reported Patek as saying he “was interested in going back to Pakistan and Afghanistan and working with Osama bin Laden”.
Patek was once the most-wanted terror suspect in Indonesia and spent nearly a decade on the run with a $1 million bounty on his head by the United States under its rewards for justice programme.
Patek was arrested in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad on January 25 last year, before being extradited to Indonesia in August. In May 2011, US commandos killed bin Laden in a raid in the same garrison town.
The trial is expected to take weeks to reach a verdict. – Agence France-Presse