©Health & Fitness Journal. Australian Defense Secretary Richard Marles speaks during a trilateral meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S. December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
By Kate Lamb and Renju Jose
SYDNEY (Health & Fitness Journal) – Indonesia’s release of convicted Bali bomb-maker Umar Patek will be a “difficult day” for Australians who lost loved ones and loved ones in the attacks, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday.
Patek was released on parole late Wednesday, the same day a suicide bomber once jailed on terrorism charges attacked a police station in Indonesia’s West Java province, killing himself and an officer.
Patek was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for involvement in bombings that devastated two Bali nightclubs and killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians.
“I think this is going to be a very difficult day for many Australians – all Australians – to hear about Umar Patek’s release,” Marles told ABC radio. “I am thinking especially now of the families of those who were killed and injured in the Bali bombings.”
The Australian government has made repeated statements to the Indonesian government regarding Patek’s early release, Marles said, and will continue to contact Indonesian authorities to ensure Patek is under constant surveillance.
Patek, a member of the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, was paroled in August for good behavior in prison. His planned release was delayed after uproar from Australia.
Patek must participate in a “mentoring program” until April 2030, and any violation could result in his parole being revoked, Indonesia’s justice ministry said in a statement.
Australia’s Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen told ABC Television on Thursday that Patek’s release worries all Australians but is unlikely to affect bilateral relations.
“I think it’s important that Australia has a strong dialogue with Indonesia so that we can have these discussions, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.