JAKARTA ( Associated Press) – A man accused of building the bomb used in the Indonesian Bali attacks two decades ago was released on parole Wednesday after serving half of his 20-year sentence.
Omar Patek was a member of Yemah Islamiyah, a terrorist network linked to Al Qaeda and was convicted of the 2002 bombings of two Kuta Beach nightclubs.
Indonesian officials say Patek has reformed and will use it to persuade other extremists to give up terrorism.
Patek, 55, whose real name is Hisam bin Alizin, received a reduced sentence of 33 months, which is customary on public holidays, said Rica Aprianti, spokeswoman for the justice ministry’s corrections department. His sentence was recently reduced to five months on 17 August, Indonesia’s Independence Day. With this, he has met the conditions of parole, after completing two-thirds of his sentence, the spokesperson said.
Patek was convicted of helping build a car bomb, which was detonated by another man outside the Sari Club in Kuta, moments after another backpack bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber near Paddy’s Pub After which 202 people were killed. Mostly foreign tourists – including 88. Australian, who shocked that country.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently called Patek “disgusting” and said his parole would cause more grief for Australians who are already troubled.
Patek was sentenced to 20 years in prison a decade after the attacks. He fled to Bali soon after the attacks and remained on the run for nine years, during which time he was one of Asia’s most wanted men.