Bali Bombing Suspect Asks to Have Four of Six Charges Dropped

By webadmin on 05:07 pm May 30, 2012
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Bayu Marhaenjati

Bayu Marhaenjati

Lawyers for the last remaining Bali bomber have called for four of the six charges leveled against him to be dropped, as they seek to chisel down prosecutors’ demand for a life sentence to just seven years.

Asludin Hatjani, a lawyer for high-profile terror suspect Umar Patek, urged the West Jakarta District Court on Monday to scrap the charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, terrorism and possession of firearms and explosives.

He added that the conspiracy charge, the most serious one, which carries a life sentence, was invalid because although Patek “did indeed help” in assembling the car bomb that eventually killed 202 people in October 2002, he was not involved in planning the attack.

Asludin said his client did not object to the two charges of document fraud, related to Patek’s submission of false documents to obtain Indonesian passports for himself and his Filipina wife, which carry a maximum sentence of seven years.

“The only charges that we will acknowledge are numbers four and five,” Asludin said.

“As for charges number one, two, three and six, we declare them unproven, based on the facts presented at this trial.”

Patek, 45, a leading member of the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, was arrested last year in Pakistan. He is the last key suspect to be tried for the 2002 Bali bombing, in which most of the victims were foreign tourists.

Prosecutors say Patek built the bombs used in the Bali attack and the ones used in Christmas Eve bombings at churches throughout the country in 2000.

The prosecution is also pursuing premeditated-murder charges in both cases, as well as an illegal-weapons possession charge related to him smuggling assault rifles into the country from the Philippines in 2009.

Prosecutors have also charged Patek with withholding information about a paramilitary training camp in Aceh that was raided by police in early 2010.

The least serious of the charges relate to the passports that Patek and his wife used to go to Pakistan, where Patek reportedly planned to join a local terrorism cell.

He was arrested in January 2011 in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, the same place where Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed four months later. Patek has denied ever being in contact with the world’s most-wanted terrorist.

Bambang Suharijadi, the lead prosecutor, rebuffed Asludin’s claims that most of the charges should be dropped, arguing that his team had presented a solid case against Patek.

“For each of the charges that they claim is unfounded, we have presented evidence and facts to the contrary,” he said. “The life sentence that we are seeking is the most fitting sentence for the defendant.”

Patek is scheduled to present his final defense on Thursday, ahead of the final verdict and, if required, sentence.