Bali bomb suspect never met Laden, says lawyer

Bali bomb suspect never met Laden, says lawyer

Suspected Indonesian bombmaker Umar Patek’s stay in the same Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was later killed in a US raid was a coincidence and the pair never met, his lawyer said on Monday.

Patek, 45, faces six counts of murder, bomb-making and illegal firearms possession over the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks, and prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty.

In his trial at the West Jakarta court, defence lawyers objected to the murder charges, saying Patek was not involved in planning the bombing that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Patek, once the most wanted terror suspect in Indonesia, had a $1 million bounty on his head under the US rewards for justice programme.

He was extradited to Indonesia after being arrested in January 2011 in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where US commandos later killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Defence lawyer Asludin Hatjani denied that Patek had gone to Pakistan to meet with the Al-Qaeda boss.

“He went to Pakistan as part of his plans to migrate to Afghanistan. He never met Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and he had no plans to meet him. In fact, he had no idea Osama was in Abbottabad,” Hatjani said.

He denied Patek was linked to al-Qaeda. “Even the police statements make no mention of his links to Al-Qaeda,” he said. Patek was a suspected key member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian terror network with suspected links to al-Qaeda.