Bali bomber Umar Patek apologises over 2002 attack that killed 88 Australians after paroled
Umar Patek was paroled last week after serving about half of his original 20-year prison sentence for making the explosives used in the 2002 Bali bombings.
An Indonesian militant who was paroled last week after serving about half of his original 20-year prison sentence for making the explosives used in the 2002 Bali bombings apologized to the families of the victims, while took smiling selfies with a partner.
Hisyam bin Alizein, better known by his nom de guerre Umar Patek, was a leading member of Jemaah Islamiah, which was blamed for the explosions at two nightclubs on Kuta beach that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
“I apologize not only to the people of Bali in particular, but also to the entire Indonesian people,” Patek told reporters while visiting former militant Ali Fauzi, an old friend who runs a program aimed at de-radicalizing militants in the Tenggulun village of East Java. .
“I also sincerely apologize, especially to Australians who also suffered a very great impact from the crime of the Bali bombing,” Patek said.
“I also apologize to the victims and their families both at home and abroad, whatever their nationality, their ethnicity, their religion, I sincerely apologize to all of them.”
Wearing a gray shirt and traditional Javanese headdress, Patek received a warm welcome from his old friends, some of whom were ex-convicts who joined the de-radicalization program spearheaded by Fauzi.
Patek looked cheerful as he smiled as he took selfies with Fauzi on an iPhone on Tuesday.
“I apologize not only to the people of Bali in particular, but also to the entire Indonesian people,” Patek told reporters while visiting former militant Ali Fauzi (pictured together), an old friend who runs a program aimed at de-radicalizing to the militants in East Java’s Tenggulun Village
Patek, was a leading member of Jemaah Islamiah, who was blamed for the explosions at two nightclubs in Kuta Beach that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
Indonesian authorities have said Patek was successfully reformed in prison and they will use him to influence other militants away from terrorism.
Patek is still being monitored and will have to participate in a mentoring program until his probation ends on April 29, 2030.
News in August of Patek’s impending early launch sparked outrage in Australia.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described him as “abhorrent” and said his release would cause further distress to Australians who suffered the trauma of the bombings.
Australia’s objection prompted the administration of President Joko Widodo to delay Patek’s release while Indonesia hosted the Group of 20 summit last month.
Patek left Bali just before the attacks and spent nine years fleeing Indonesia to the Philippines and Pakistan.
Indonesian authorities have said that Patek (pictured in 2011) was successfully reformed in prison and that they will use him to influence other militants away from terrorism.
He was finally captured in January 2011 in Pakistan while hiding in a second-floor room of a house in Abbottabad, with a US$1 million (A$1.5 million) bounty on his head, when security forces Pakistani security, acting on a CIA tip, stormed in.
He was then extradited to Indonesia.
It was there that the kindness of the police officers who helped him obtain medical treatment apparently began to undermine his convictions about people he had long seen as the enemy.
He expressed remorse at his trial, saying he helped make the bombs but did not know how they would be used.
He also issued extensive apologies, including to the families of the victims, at the time.
Patek is the son of a goat meat merchant.
He went to computer school and learned English before being recruited by Dulmatin, a fellow militant who was shot dead by Indonesian police in March 2010.
After his arrest, Patek told interrogators that he learned to make bombs during a period from 1991 to 1994 in Pakistan and then Afghanistan.
Patek said in August that he was committed to helping the government with de-radicalization programs “so that they can fully understand the dangers of terrorism and the dangers of radicalism.”
Fauzi said he could appreciate the pain caused by Patek’s early release, but hoped the families of the victims and Australian friends would be “willing to forgive him.”
In the photo, the ruins of a nightclub in Kuta, Bali, after the attacks.