Bali bombmaker apologises to angry survivors, families

Umar Patek was one of the bombmakers in the Bali blasts that killed more than 200 people 20 years ago. - AFP

LAMONGAN, Indonesia (AFP): A bombmaker in the Bali blasts that killed more than 200 people 20 years ago apologised on Tuesday (Dec 13) after his early release from prison stoked the anger of the Australian government, survivors and families of the dead.

Umar Patek also vowed to show his "loyalty" to Indonesia in his first comments after his release from prison.

Patek was a member of an al-Qaeda-linked group that detonated bombs at a bar and nightclub on the Indonesian resort island in 2002, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians, in South-East Asia's deadliest militant attack.

He was freed from prison in the East Java city of Surabaya last week after serving half of his term, angering Canberra, victims' relatives and survivors.

Attack survivor Peter Hughes, an Australian who spoke at Patek's 2012 trial, called it "laughable" that he was released.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in August called Patek "abhorrent" after Jakarta cut his prison sentence.

Patek said it "is my obligation to express my apology for the rest of my life".

"I apologise... to all of the victims. I also apologise to the Australians, who have experienced severe impacts from the Bali bombing crime," he told reporters in the East Java town of Lamongan.

Patek was found to have made the bombs used in the assault on Bali, a Hindu island popular with foreign tourists.

Indonesian officials said he would be required to follow a training programme until 2030 and his parole would be revoked if he committed a violation in that period.

"I just need to show my commitment to the government, and loyalty to the country. I will show them through my actions," Patek said when asked about his release.

He spoke at the offices of Lingkar Perdamaian, a foundation that helps former prisoners rejoin society set up by Ali Fauzi, a brother of three of the Bali bombers.

Indonesian authorities said they believed Patek, who was captured in Pakistan in 2011, had rehabilitated himself inside prison after completing a deradicalisation programme.

However, Australia has called for him to be closely monitored.

Patek said he wants to devote himself to deradicalising other extremists.

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Indonesia , Bali , bombmaker , Umar Patek , apology


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