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Extradition of Bali Bomber Expected Soon

Undated poster released by Philippine National Police and the US Rewards For Justice Program, shows Umar Patek
Undated poster released by Philippine National Police and the US Rewards For Justice Program, shows Umar Patek

Indonesia's foreign minister said Friday the extradition from Pakistan of Umar Patek, an alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings, will happen soon. Patek is a suspected member of the al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and was arrested in January in the Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was hiding before he was killed in May.

Speaking to a group of journalists Friday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said authorities are trying to keep Umar Patek’s expected handover low key and are not providing a specific timetable.

“Precisely for the reasons of that, security reasons, we are keeping this whole issue in a very measured way, both security in terms of physical security, security in terms of not wanting to create self-fulfilling, self-creating attention to a person who do not deserve publicity to be honest,” said Natalegawa.

Patek is believed to have built the bombs used in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, including many tourists from Australia and the United States. He is believed to have trained with al-Qaida in Pakistan before the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and has been in hiding since 2003. The United States had offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

He was apprehended in Abbottabad, Pakistan in January, in the same town where Osama bin Laden was living before he was killed by U.S. forces. It has been reported that Patek was in Abbottabad to meet with al-Qaida leaders but there has been no confirmation that he met with bin Laden.

Since his arrest, Indonesian investigators have questioned Patek. Security analysts say what they learn from Patek may lead to a better understanding of how terror networks in the region interact.

Patek will likely be charged with either murder or for illegal possession and use of explosives. Part of the reason for the handover’s delay Natalegawa says is that Indonesian authorities want to make sure the extradition process does not hinder the prosecution’s legal case.

“The only pending issue that is now being completed is to ensure that the process of Umar Patek's repatriation to Indonesia proceeds smoothly in terms of operation-wise, the procedure," said Natalegawa. "But also in terms of the legal framework, that is water tight, that once he is arraigned and deported or extradited, certainly repatriated back to Indonesia, he will be received by the necessary legal framework that to ensure that he is held accountable to the crimes that he has been accused of having committed."

In 2009 Noordin Mohammad Top and Dulmatin, two other high profile militant leaders who were suspected of involvement in the Bali bombings were killed during police raids in Indonesia. In the last decade the number of terrorist attacks in Indonesia, a secular state with the world’s biggest population of Muslims, has significantly declined due in large part to increased law enforcement efforts.