February 4, 2023

Eureka News

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Bali assassin Umar Patek apologizes for nightclub attacks that killed 202 people

An Indonesian bomb maker convicted for his role in the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub bombings has apologized to the victims’ families after his release from prison in Australia was met with outrage.

Umar Patek, a member of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah group, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 after being found guilty of making bombs that destroyed two nightclubs in Bali, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians. He was released on parole last week.

“I apologize to the victims and their families at home and abroad, regardless of their country, ethnicity and religion,” Patek said Tuesday in an interview at a deradicalization center in East Java province.

“I apologize to the Australian people who have been deeply affected by the Bali bombings,” he added.

Patek also said he would help the Indonesian government in its counter-terrorism efforts, adding he was “ready to become an ambassador for peace.”

Patek must participate in a “mentoring program” until April 2030, and any violation could result in his parole being revoked, Indonesia’s Justice Ministry said.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has paved the way for a deradicalization program alongside tough security measures as part of its efforts to counter a resurgence of Islamic militancy.

Patek’s release has sparked anger in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said shortly after his release that it was a “difficult day” for Australians who had lost loved ones and relatives in the attacks.

Paul Vanni, community and partnership officer for Sydney’s Coogee Dolphins rugby team, which lost six members in the Bali attacks, dismissed the apology.

“Words mean nothing. It’s a complete slap in the face. He’s an assassin, a murderer,” Vanni said.