Indonesia: Bali bomber's life-term dodge 'fault of bungling prosecutors'
last update: June 22, 14:34
Jakarta, 22 June (AKI/Jakarta Post) - The failure to convince judges to hand terrorist convict Umar Patek a life sentence is solely the fault of prosecutors, according to terrorism commentator Dynno Creesbon.
"The reason why Patek was not given a life sentence in prison is because the charges were weak and were unable to be corroborated in court," Dynno told The Jakarta Post on Friday over the phone.
Making things even worse for prosecutors in Umar Patek's case is that, according to Dynno, prosecutors generally tend to be on the losing side in terrorism cases.
"Prosecutors will always face an uphill battle in terrorism trials, because terrorists always protect one another in court," he said.
When a convicted terrorist gets a court summons to provide testimony in the trial of a suspected terrorist, Dynno says that the convict will talk to judges in ways that are favourable to the suspects.
Because of this, Dynno denied that the ruling of the five member panel of judges on Thursday was influenced by external factors.
"The 20-year sentencing of Patek is completely the result of the judges' decision. The sentencing would not have been any different had the trial been conducted in either Jakarta or Bali. We don't use a jury system, so locations and popular sentiments don't matter," he said.
Patek has long been suspected of being a mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. Prosecutors wanted judges to give him a life sentence, but judges issued Patek 20 years in jail.
Judges at the West Jakarta District Court found Patek guilty of illegally possessing firearms, explosive devices and chemicals.
They also found him guilty of premeditated murder in the Bali bombing and in Jakarta’s Christmas Eve church bombing of 2000, which killed 19.
He was also deemed guilty of withholding information about terrorism, document forgeries and helping to establish a terrorist training camp in Aceh in 2010.
The judges did not, however, find any evidence of Patek's role as one of the masterminds of the Bali bombing, which is how he managed to duck a life sentence.
Patek's lawyer, Asludin Hanjuni, said he would appeal the verdict.
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