Umar Patek’s trial seemingly goes nowhere
Umar Patek: The country’s most wanted terrorist was smiling in his trial. Kompas.com/Roderick Adrian Mozes
More than two months after the start of the trial of one of the country’s most wanted terrorist, Umar Patek, nicknamed the Demolition Man, the court proceedings have failed to pick up steam.
On Monday, prosecutors presented six witnesses who gave sketchy accounts of Patek’s alleged role in a number of terror attacks that rocked the country in recent years.
Patek is accused of masterminding the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreign holidaymakers. He is also accused of assembling explosives that were used in bombings in nine cities on Christmas Eve 2000.
The six witnesses, all victims of the Bali bombing, testified before a panel of judges presided over by Lexsy Mamonto.
“At the time of the blast, I was near the bombing site [on Jl. Legian, Bali] to buy rice. I saw a man get out of a parked white car blocking the road outside Paddy’s,” one of the witnesses, Khusnul Khotimah, told the court on Monday.
One of the two bombs in the attack was inside a white Mitsubishi L-300 van on Jl. Legian outside Paddy’s and Sari nightclubs.
“I did not see the man’s face, but I don’t think his description matches that of the defendant,” she added.
Another witness, I Gusti Ngurah Anom, said he had testified in the trial of other terror suspects of the Bali bombing, but he had not heard Patek’s name mentioned during court proceedings.
“I learned that the defendant was one of Bali bombing suspects from media reports,” Gusti said in response to questions from one of Patek’s attorneys.
The team of prosecutors led by Bambang Suharyadi asked only about Anom’s experience during the blast, how badly he had been affected and the material losses he suffered.
Other witnesses, Tumini, Jatmiko and Gatot, all gave similar accounts of the devastating impacts of the blast.
Patek’s attorney Asrudin Habjani said after the hearing that the witnesses could only confirm that the blast had happened but could not pinpoint Patek’s role in the attack.
“I guess we have to wait for the next hearing to get incriminating evidence against my client,” he said.
On March 12, four victims of the Christmas Eve bombings testified against Patek.
The witnesses were security guards Wagyono, Sugiono and Abdul Jami and police officer Iteng Waluyo.
The only useful information against Patek that the court gleaned was the testimony of two convicts of the Christmas Eve bombings, Edy Setiono and Abdul Jabar.
The two convicts said that Patek set the timers on the bombs.
Edy said that Dulmatin, another terror suspect who was shot dead by police in Pamulang, South Tangerang, in 2010, had introduced him to Patek.
Abdul, however, voiced doubt that Patek was the mastermind of the bombing.
Patek was considered a key figure of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian terror network believed to be linked to al-Qaeda.
He was captured on Jan. 25, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and extradited to Indonesia on Aug. 11, 2011.
While on run, Patek was wanted by the US, Australia and Indonesia. He had a US$1 million bounty on his head under the US government’s “Rewards for Justice” program.
His trial was adjourned until Thursday.