One of Indonesia’s most-wanted terror masterminds, Umar Patek, faces his first trial at the West Jakarta District Court today.
The prosecutors have leveled multiple charges at Patek, and if convicted he could face a life sentence.
Rather unusually, the trial is led by a panel of judges comprising five judges instead of the usual three. The panel is led by presiding judge Lexsy Mamonto.
More than 250 uniformed police officers have been deployed to safeguard the trial, which has attracted the attention of dozens of journalists, both local and foreign.
“We’ll do our best to safeguard the trial,” West Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Suntana told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Patek’s role in several terrorist plots was first revealed through the testimonies given by his fellow terrorists who had been nabbed by the police’s counter terrorism special task force after the church bombings in 2000 and the first Bali bombing in 2002.
He was among those who built the bombs used in the bombings. Some even acknowledged that Patek’s bomb-making skills were equal to the late Dr. Azhari, who died during the 2005 police raid in Batu, Malang in East Java, and was known for his bomb-making skills.
Patek was arrested in Abbottabad, Pakistan, just a few weeks before US special forces killed Osama Bin Laden.(rpt)