An alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings was extradited from Pakistan to Indonesia today, after his arrest in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, a security official said.
Indonesia’s counter-terrorism agency chief Ansyaad Mbai confirmed that Umar Patek had arrived under tight security after an overnight flight from Pakistan, and ahead of an expected trial on terrorism-related charges.
Patek is expected to face trial over attacks including the Bali bombings that killed 202 people and Christmas Eve church bombings that killed 19 people in 2000, the counter-terrorism chief said.
The fatalities in the bombings of tourist bars and nightclubs on the resort island of Bali, which thrust Muslim-majority Indonesia into the front lines of the “war on terror”, included 88 Australian holidaymakers.
Police say Patek, 41, worked closely with the attack’s mastermind, Indonesian extremist Dulmatin, and built the massive bombs that flattened several buildings along the Kuta beach tourist strip.
Officials said murder could be the most serious crime he is charged with, as his alleged crimes were committed before the Southeast Asian archipelago passed its tough anti-terrorism law. Even so, he could still face the death penalty.
Indonesian police killed Dulmatin last year and three of his Bali accomplices were executed by firing squad in 2008. Until his arrest Patek was the last “big fish” still at large over the Bali bombings.
The Bali attack was the work of Al-Qaeda-linked regional extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah, and Indonesian officials are hoping Patek will give valuable information on JI and other Southeast Asian terror networks.