outcome of “Demolition Man” Umar Patek’s case could have been different had the
trial been conducted in a different venue, a criminologist said.
conditions can affect the way judges think. So if Umar Patek’s trial was
conducted in Bali, he might have been given a
heavier sentence. After all, the people and culture in Bali
have been conditioned to be antipathetic towards terrorism,”
Umar, a former police officer and criminologist at the University of Indonesia
(UI), told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The island of Bali was the site where in 2002 terrorists
detonated bombs that claimed the lives of more than 200 people.
Patek has long
been considered a mastermind behind this bombing.
months of trial and despite prosecutors’ demand for a life sentence, judges at
the West Jakarta District Court gave Patek a 20-year sentence on Thursday.
The panel of
judges was able to find Patek guilty of several charges, such as illegal
possession of firearms and premeditated murder in the Bali bombing and Jakarta’s Christmas Eve
church bombing in 2000 that killed 19 people.
however, could not find any evidence that Patek had acted as a mastermind behind
the Bali bombings. This enabled him to evade a
Bambang said, also could have been influenced by the way the Indonesian legal
system is structured, which allows for social-political factions to influence the
“In Europe, you have a separation of powers, which means that
the judicial branches are separated from political influence. In Indonesia, you
have a distribution of powers, where the law is under the authority of
politicians, who are often influenced by outside groups,” he said.
As such, Bambang
said it would not be surprising if judges were influenced by political trends
theoretically, our judges should be independent and autonomous in their
decisions. Political interventions and influences, however, always make this
ideal hard to live up to,” he said. (png)