Balinese bomb-maker Umar Patek laughs with the jailer in an Indonesian prison promotional video
Balinese bomb-maker Umar Patek starred in a promotional video for the Indonesian prison where he is being held, claiming he was trying to stop the 2002 atrocities.
In the extraordinary clip, posted to the YouTube channel of East Java’s Porong prison, Patek can be seen laughing and smiling while chatting with prison governor Jalu Yuswa Panjang.
Patek, 52, claims he only took part in the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar bombings, which killed 202 innocent people, including 88 Australians, because the conspiracy was already “well advanced”.
The 2002 bombings killed more than 200 people, including 88 Australians
The horror of the Bali bombing
At around 11:00 pm on October 12, 2002, three bombs were detonated in Bali, two in busy nightclubs – the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar – and one in front of the American Consulate.
The blasts killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, and injured hundreds more.
The attacks, carried out by the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah, represent Australia’s largest loss of life from any act of terrorism.
More than 30 people were eventually arrested for their involvement in the attacks.
After the attacks, the Australian Defense Force mobilized immediately and just 17 hours after the blast, the first RAAF aircraft arrived to evacuate injured Australians. At least 66 seriously injured were flown to Darwin for treatment in the largest medical evacuation since the Vietnam War.
The military then assisted in secondary transfers of people from Darwin to medical centers across the country.
Source: National Museum of Australia
“My mistake was being involved in the Bali bombing,” he said as the two casually strolled around the prison grounds.
“When I knew that all intentions were to execute the bomb, I said I didn’t want to do that.
“Everything was ready, the bomb weighed about 950 kilos. Ready.’
Patek, whose real name is Hisyam bin Ali Zein, was a member of the radical Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah.
He claimed he did not return to Indonesia after working with al-Qaeda-backed terrorist groups in the Philippines, Afghanistan and Pakistan to take part in the bombing.
“I didn’t come to Indonesia to take part in the Bali bombing project,” he says.
“Even when I found out about it, I was so against it, I didn’t agree.
“I asked the others at the time what the reasons for the attack plan were. There were no reasons.’
In the video, Governor Panjang calls Patek “our friend” and even appears to be trying to help his love life.
“This morning I joined our brother Umar Patek, our friend in Block F,” says the governor at the beginning of the 20-minute video.
“Today we’re going to talk to him about who exactly is Umar Patek? Many do not know. Maybe there are a lot of ladies out there who want to know?’
After their amiable walk is over, the two shake hands.
Patek was free this month after serving less than half of the 20-year sentence he received in 2014 for his role in making the explosive.
Multiple good behavior writs mean he could be paroled well before the 20th anniversary of the attack.
Balinese bomb-maker Umar Patek (pictured left) starred in a promotional video for the Indonesian prison where he is being held
In the video, Patek speaks amicably to Jalu Yuswa Panjang, the governor of Pajong prison, and says he opposed the bombing but agreed to it because the plot was well advanced
Governor Panjang, who supports Patek’s early release, encouraged the prisoner to talk about his daily routine.
“I spend a lot of time with my friends in the mosque. I also help out in a small shop,” Patek said.
The convicted terrorist said he wanted to work with the Indonesian government to fight radicalization.
“I want to help the government educate people on this issue, for millennials and maybe terrorist inmates in prison,” Patek said.
“I am ready to help the General Directorate for Correctional Facilities or other institutions.”
Umar Patek was able to walk free within days after serving only about half of his original 20-year sentence
Patek said radicalism is still a problem in Indonesia.
“God willing, I can gather with my family again,” he said.
“In my opinion, radicalism still exists. It can be anywhere in any region or country. Because the roots are still there.”
Perth’s mother June Corteen, whose twin daughters were killed in the bombings, erupted in anger over Patek’s possible release and said he deserved no mercy.
“I don’t think he’s changed. I don’t think he thinks he knows what he did wrong,” she told Channel Seven.
“Please don’t let him go. Please don’t let him out, keep an eye on him for the rest of his life.’
News of Patek’s potential release comes less than two months ahead of the 20th anniversary of the October bombings (pictured the site of the horrifying blast).
Melbourne man Jan Laczynski, who lost five friends in the Bali bombings, expressed serious doubts about Patek’s change of heart.
‘He’s saying all this in a maximum security prison. It’s very different when you go out and mingle with all the people who originally put him down this path,” he said the alphabet.
Indonesian terrorism expert Muhamad Syauqillah said about 10 percent of terrorists revert to extremism after their release, even if they are or claim to be deradicalised.
“Whether ex-prisoners re-engage with terrorism depends very much on how the authorities manage deradicalization programs after their release,” he said.
“This process must continue and not stop once it is freed.”