Convicted terrorist Umar Patek has appeared in a second video interview ahead of his much-anticipated release from prison. The bomb maker hit the headlines over the weekend as he appeared in a 20-minute interview with Porong Prison Governor Jalu Yuswa Panjang.
The pair can be seen laughing and joking while walking around the prison grounds. The video was deleted shortly after the media caught on to the story. However, yesterday a second interview with Umar Patek was released by the news and social media channels of the National Counter Terrorism Agency of the Republic of Indonesia.
Then the video produced and shared by the country’s counter-terrorism department Umar Patek is joined by his wife. The pair are filmed having what appears to be a candid conversation about what they want life to be like after Patek’s release. Questions have been raised about why these interviews are being shared and why Patek is allowed to spend time with his wife before parole.
Patek has long been a poster boy for the benefits and successes of Indonesia’s deradicalization program. There is a thought that publishing interviews of Patek will help create public trust in his deradicalization and normalize his upcoming release.
Patek has been granted parole though no date has been set for his release. Though he has been told he will walk free soon, authorities in Indonesia are believed to be conducting final paperwork and doing rigorous checks to ensure that Patek will not become a target of the terrorist organization he has denounced his affiliation with. In 2021 Patek conducted an interview for the National Counter Terrorism Program in which he also shared his regrets at his actions and his success within the national deradicalization program.
Patek was initially sentenced to 20 years behind bars for his role in the construction of the bombs used in the 2002 attacks on Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, and injured hundreds more. His sentence was halved due to good behavior and his success within the deradicalization program. Recently a further 5-months was slashed from his remaining sentence.
In this second interview, Patek is joined by his wife. The pair appeared relaxed and enjoying each other’s company. They laugh and joke and talk about their future. The interview was also conducted within the grounds of Porong Prison. They talk about the food he likes to each, including Pakistani curries. Patek was born in Java, Indonesia but was sent to Pakistani, Afghanistan, and the Philippines during his time as an active member of the Jemaah Islamiyah.
The terrorist organization was founded by Abu Bakar Baasyir in 1993 and is a militant extremist group dedicated to creating an Islamic State in South East Asia. They are allies of Al-Qaeda and are responsible not only for the Bali Bombings in 2002 but the Christmas Eve church bombings in Java in 2000 and other devastating attacks.
In another part of the interview, Patek’s wife describes him as ‘patient and loving and that he is a ‘romantic husband.’ She went on to share her plans of going on holiday and that Bali features on their list of options. Patek said he wants to start a family when he is out of prison. Regardless of the impacts of prison reform and the efficacy of deradicalization, these remarks published by state media, will be triggering for victims and their loved ones to hear.
In both interviews, Patek states his regret for his actions and wants to play an active role in ensuring that vulnerable people do not get lured into terrorist organizations. In the now-deleted interview with Governor Panjang, Patek said, ‘‘I’d like to work with millennials because they’re the ones more prone to get infected by the radicalism virus… I’d like to help the government to educate people about the issue, for millennials and maybe terror inmates in prisons. I am open to help the directorate general of correctional facilities or other institutions’.
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