Date: May 08 2012
The terror suspect accused of building the explosive devices used in the 2002 Bali bombings has told a court he knew Westerners were to be targeted in the deadly plot.
But Umar Patek, who could face the death penalty if convicted over his alleged role in the bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, claims he did not know the planned locations of the attacks or that they had been financed by al-Qaeda.
Patek, also known as the Demolition Man, has admitted for the first time that he was aware the bombs, which he is accused of playing a key role in constructing, would be used to target ''bule'' - a term used in Indonesia to describe Westerners.
''Mukhlas said that they're going to take revenge over the slaughter of Muslims in Palestine by bombing a place used by bule,'' Patek, 45, told the West Jakarta District Court yesterday.
''This didn't make sense to me. Why if we are to help Muslims in Palestine would we bomb Bali?''
Mukhlas, whose real name is Ali Ghufron, was executed in 2008 with two others convicted over the attacks, Amrozi and Imam Samudra.
Patek, who is suspected of having been involved in terrorist activities since the early 1990s, was trained in explosives at a Mujahideen camp on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
However, he said yesterday that he played only a minor role in building the bombs for the Bali attacks and did not know exactly where the devices would be detonated.
''I helped to mix the chemicals,'' he said.
''They loaded explosives onto the car while I stayed inside my room and read the Koran.''
The Sari Club was bustling with locals and tourists when a massive bomb loaded into a van parked outside was detonated just after 11pm on October 12, 2002.
About 20 seconds earlier, a suicide bomber had detonated a backpack loaded with explosives inside Paddy's Bar.
Patek also said he had made an 11th hour bid to convince members of the Jemaah Islamiah terror cell responsible for the bombings to call them off.
He sobbed as he apologised to the victims of what remains Indonesia's deadliest terrorist attack - the first time during the trial that he has shown any remorse.
''I ask for forgiveness from the victims, from the families of victims, and from everyone who has suffered loss.''
Patek was captured in January last year in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where US forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden less than four months later.
FBI agent Frank Pellegrino said earlier in the trial that intelligence gathered during the interrogation of another terrorism suspect known to Patek confirmed he had travelled to Pakistan in an effort to meet with bin Laden.
But Patek told the court no meeting took place. He also said he had no idea that money used to finance the 2002 bombings had come directly from bin Laden.
Whether his belated act of contrition will sway prosecutors, or whether they will demand a death sentence, will be known in two weeks when they make their sentence request.
A panel of five judges is expected to hand down its decision a month later, on June 21. AAP
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