Bali bombmaker released on parole in Indonesia

Umar Patek's sentence for his role in the 2002 bombing was reduced on Wednesday

Umar Patek was captured in 2011 after nearly a decade on the run with a $1 million bounty on his head in Abbottabad. AP
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One of the attackers involved a bombing that killed more 200 people in Indonesia two decades ago has been released on parole, months after his sentence was reduced.

Umar Patek made the explosives used in the October 2002 bombing of a nightclub and bar on the resort island of Bali, by an Al Qaeda-affiliated group.

Rika Aprianti, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, told AFP that the release was with immediate effect. The bombmaker was freed from prison in the East Java city of Surabaya at 8am on Wednesday and escorted by authorities as no one from his family came to pick him up.

“As of today, Patek has his status changed to be under supervision of Surabaya penitentiary,” Ms Aprianti said.

“He is obliged to follow the office's guidance and must not commit any violence to keep his parole.”

Authorities believe the convicted extremist has “shown changes” after undergoing a deradicalisation programme, the spokeswoman said.

“Most importantly, he has pledged allegiance to the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia,” she said.

Patek was found guilty by the West Jakarta District Court of helping to build a car bomb that was detonated by another person outside the Sari Club in Kuta, moments after a smaller bomb in a backpack was detonated by a suicide bomber inside the nearby Paddy’s Pub nightclub.

He was captured in 2011 after nearly a decade on the run with a $1 million bounty on his head in Abbottabad, the same Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison after expressing remorse.

The bombmaker said at his trial that he helped to make the explosives but did not know how they would be used. He has apologised to the victims’ families, Christians and the government.

Patek, whose real name is Hisyam bin Alizein, received a total of 33 months of sentence reductions, which are often given to prisoners on major holidays for good behaviour, said Ms Aprianti.

Most recently, he was granted a five-month reduction on August 17, Indonesia’s Independence Day. That meant he has fulfilled the parole requirement of serving two-thirds of his current sentence, she said.

The attackers were put to death by firing squad in 2008.

Patek told reporters while attending an independence ceremony in August that he was committed to helping the government with deradicalisation programmes “so that they can fully understand the dangers of terrorism and the dangers of radicalism.”

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and third-largest democracy, has imprisoned hundreds of Islamist extremists since the Bali bombings.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 4:40 PM