Patek verdict upsets bombing victims, families
Hearing on the television that the West Jakarta District Court had handed down a 20-year prison sentence to Hisyam bin Ali Zein, better known as Umar Patek, on Thursday last week, 37-year-old Tumini was really shocked.
“The verdict is too lenient for him. It really hurts me, hurts my heart and I believe the same sentiment is shared by all the other victims and their families.”
The mother of three was working the night shift at Paddy’s Bar on that infamous night in 2002 when a man wearing a backpack filled with explosives entered the popular night spot and blew himself up. The crowded bar was immediately turned into chaos as the patrons rushed outside to seek a safer place.
Moments later, a bigger explosion leveled the Sari Club, which was located just across the street from Paddy’s. At the court hearing months later, the terrorists responsible for the bombings claimed that the explosion in Paddy’s was aimed at forcing people out of the bar and into the street, where the second explosion was supposed to kill them all.
Tumini suffered severe burns on her face and body. The physical injuries have never completely healed and she still sometimes feels searing pain on her scars.
“I am really disappointed with the verdict. Twenty years in prison is not comparable to the tragedy that he inflicted. Hundreds of people lost their lives, many children lost their parents, many people lost their husband or wife, and many people have to live with physical disabilities. Like me, now I have scars on my face and body, and I can’t live normally like before,” she said.
After the incident, Tumini had to quit her job and was only able to find a lower-paid one due to her physical shortcomings. Nowadays, she works as a motorcycle taxi driver, shuttling her neighbors’ children to their schools.
“The trauma emerges every time I hear loud music. I always remember the explosion when I hear the music. That’s why I never tried to get the same job, as a bartender. I feel more comfortable with my job nowadays,” she added.
“A 20 year sentence is not fair. It is too short. After 20 years, he will be free, out of prison with good health, fresh and happy. Meanwhile the victims are living with disabilities, it’s not fair,” she pointed out, stressing that a life sentence would have been fairer.
Raden Supriyo Laksono, who lost his wife in the bombing, gave a similar response. “I really don’t understand how the court could give a light sentence. It’s too light. He must be sentenced, at minimum, for life,” Laksono said.
Laksono’s wife, Lilis Puspita, was killed in the 2002 Bali bombing, the deadliest terrorist attack Indonesia has ever suffered. At least 202 people were killed and more than 300 were injured in the suicide bombing at Paddy’s and the car bomb explosion outside the Sari Club. Pregnant Lilis was killed when she passed in front of the Sari Club precisely at the time of explosion.
Laksono said that Patek should have had a heavier sentence due to his big role in many terrorist attacks in Indonesia, not only Bali. Patek, he said, had broken many laws. After conducting terror in Indonesia, he was a fugitive for many years.
“That fact alone should prompt the judges to give him a heavier sentence. But why did the judges give him a light sentence? It is disappointing,” Laksono said.
Patek is a high-profile terrorist who played a key role in the 2002 Bali bombing and several other terrorist attacks in Indonesia. Patek was arrested in Pakistan in March of last year.