Suspected Bali mastermind 'key link to al-Qaeda'
Umar Patek is the suspected main bombmaker for the 2002 attacks on nightclubs in Bali, which placed mainly Muslim Indonesia on the frontline of the global battle against terrorism.Updated: May 07, 2012 13:27 IST
Umar Patek is the suspected main bombmaker for the 2002 attacks on nightclubs in Bali, which placed mainly Muslim Indonesia on the frontline of the global battle against terrorism.
Born to a family of Yemeni descent in Pemalang, central Java on July 20, 1966, he was believed to have contacts with the central command of al-Qaeda's international terrorist network.
He is accused of being the expert bombmaker of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian terror network linked to al-Qaeda.
He denies this role and that he was a mastermind in the Bali attacks.
The 45-year-old has admitted mixing explosives for the 2002 bombings, although he claimed at his trial today his role was more minor than prosecutors allege and that he had no prior knowledge of the targets.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Frank Pellegrino testified at Patek's trial in April that the accused planned to kill US troops and suggested he went to the Pakistani town of Abbottabad to meet Osama bin Laden before his arrest on January 25 last year.
According to Pellegrino, a witness interviewed by the FBI in the Philippines reported Patek as saying he "was interested in going back to Pakistan and Afghanistan and working with Osama bin Laden".
Patek and his defence lawyers have however denied those claims.
In May last year, US commandos killed bin Laden in a raid in the same garrison town where Patek was arrested.
Patek had a $ 1 million bounty on his head under the US Rewards for Justice programme after the October 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly Western tourists.
Indonesian police say Patek had confessed to the Bali attack as well as church bombings in Indonesia on Christmas Eve of 2000.
According to a copy of his indictment, he fled to the southern Philippine island of Mindanao after the Bali bombings.
He was said to have joined Mindanao's Moro Islamic Liberation Front and planned to move to Afghanistan to help fight US troops.
The indictment says he returned to Indonesia in June 2009 to join Dulmatin, another Bali cohort who was setting up a regional terror cell dubbed al-Qaeda in Aceh at the time. Police killed Dulmatin shortly afterwards.
Patek allegedly used simple household tools including a rice ladle to assemble the Bali bombs, which were housed in ordinary filing cabinets.
First Published: May 07, 2012 13:25 IST