Bali bomb accused 'should get life'

Bali bomb accused 'should get life'

Prosecutors are seeking life in prison for an Indonesian militant accused of building the car bomb used in the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks.

Umar Patek, a leading member of the al Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, is the last key suspect to be tried over the twin blasts that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Lead prosecutor Bambang Suharijadi told the West Jakarta District Court today that the 45-year-old militant deserved to spend the rest of his life in jail.

He said Patek was guilty of illegal weapons possession, helping and concealing terrorist acts, immigration violations and premeditated murder.

A verdict is not expected until next month.

It is still possible, but unlikely, that the judges will decide to hand down the maximum penalty of death by firing squad.

Analysts, however, expect Patek, known as “Demolition Man”, will end up getting less than 20 years behind bars.

Patek, who was arrested last year in Pakistan, has denied playing a major role in assembling the massive car bomb that was the largest bomb used in the attack.

He said that job fell to Jemaah Islamiyah bomb-making masterminds, Azahari bin Husin and Dulmatin, both of whom have since been killed in police raids.

The militant also insisted he was against the bombings from the start but did not dare to speak out. They were in theory meant to avenge Western policies in the Palestinian territories. Patek said he saw no connection between the original mission – fighting against the oppression of fellow Muslims – and the target, partying tourists.

Patek and his lawyers will respond to the prosecution’s sentencing demand next week.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks since the Bali bombings on October 12 2002. But all have been far less deadly, thanks in part, security experts say, to a relentless crackdown on Jemaah Islamiyah that has largely decimated their ranks.

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