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Victims Left Distraught At News Of Bali Bomber’s Early Prison Release

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Victims and loved ones of those killed in the 2002 Bali Bombings have spoken out about their shock and distress at the announcement of the early release of one of the men behind the attacks. The Indonesian Government announced last week that Umar Patek will be granted early release from prison for showing remorse for his actions and ‘success’ during his deradicalizing program.

Last week Australian Prime Minster Anthony Albanese condemned the early release and that he knew how ‘deeply saddened’ loved ones and victims would be at the news that the bomb builder could be released just days before the 20th anniversary of the attacks. He shared how he believed that the news of the early release should trigger renewed trauma for families and loved ones still grieving for those who died in the attacks. 

One of the victims who has spoken out after hearing the news is Thiolina Ferawati Marpaung. Speaking to AFP from Denpasar on the 24th August, Marpaung said ‘It is not that I don’t respect other people’s rights, but he has hurt the survivors and families with his evil and inhumane acts’. Marpuang was left with permeant eye damage after being caught in the bomb blast. She explained how she felt that Patek should remain locked up. 

During his trial in 2012, Patek denied being the main bomb builder behind the attacks but did admit to assembling parts of the bombs used in October 2002 inside Sari Club and outside Paddy’s Bar in Kuta. He was also charged with his involvement with the Jakarta Christmas Eve bombings in 2000 where 19 people were killed and dozens more injured. 

He admitted to mixing chemicals used in the explosives but claimed that his role was ‘minor’ and that he did not know how the bombs would be used. Speaking at a hearing in 2012 he said ‘I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I apologize to the families of those killed, both Indonesians and foreigners’.

Prosecutors believed that Patek showed remorse during his trial which is why the 52-year old was not given the death penalty, unlike others who were involved in the attacks. Despite his affiliation with an Islamic extremist group connected to Al Qaeda, Patek has undergone a process of deradicalization while in prison.

The dismissal of his old beliefs is the grounds upon which Indonesian authorities feel that he is safe to be released. A spokesperson told the media ‘He has dutifully undergone a deradicalization program and behaves well in the prison’.

For many people, in Indonesia and internationally, the idea that Patek would be free to live the rest of his life outside of prison walls is too much to bear. One victim told the media that he felt ‘nervous’ and ‘disappointed’ at the news of Patek’s pending release.

Patek remains in prison pending release, it is believed that authorities are conducting assessments to ensure that Patek does not become a target of the groups he has now dissociated himself from.

As the 20th anniversary of the Bali Bombings approaches, many people are making plans to visit Bali to pay their respects at the memorial in Central Kuta. While many others have vowed never to set foot in Indonesia again as the pain and trauma of the attacks remain too raw.

Australian news channel 10 News First has announced the release of a new podcast mini-series called Shockwaves. Journalist Ali Donaldson will be exploring the untold stories of the tragedy 20 years on. TV Network Stan has also announced the premier of a TV mini-series called Bali 2002 which is a dramatization of the events of 12th October 2002 and the days that followed.

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Saturday 3rd of September 2022

All respect and empathy to those affected. As an Australian expat I feel extremely uncomfortable with reports and comments which seemingly make Australian lives more valuable or memorable than the many more others killed and injured.

Wayan Bo

Monday 29th of August 2022

Religious madness is very serious disease.

Ian Westall

Sunday 28th of August 2022

No amount of time in prison will erase the memories of what happened. Let's all hope that he is rehabilitated not renlisted.

Wayan Bo

Sunday 28th of August 2022

In 1980’s no woman in Bali was wearing hijab, even in early 1980’s on Jakarta international airport was no woman seen with hijab. - In 1990’s first hijabs appears, in 2000’s first bombing’s … in 2022 mass murderer become free after twenty years of imprisonment.


Wednesday 31st of August 2022

@Randy, funny how Indonesian women are criticised for wearing hijab, but not a dicky bird about the Jewish kippah/yarmulke, nuns wearing a wimple, Sikhs and others wearing a turban, many Christians wearing a crucifix, the 'costumes' of the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox....hierarchy. Seems if a cultural or a racial practice doesn't align with some people then it's wrong. For me apart from ignorance and bigotism it's based on unfounded fear.


Monday 29th of August 2022

@Wayan Bo, PS you'll also notice more around the airport and the tourist areas as more Indonesians, particularly Javanese come here for holidays. Thankfully, because the these people led the post covid recovery numbers.


Monday 29th of August 2022

@Wayan Bo, 'Siang Bo. The Muslim population of Bali is just over 10%. That includes Balinese Muslims and those from Java.. By the time you break down by sex, the number of females wearing hijab (if they choose to) is very small. You will of course notice it more in certain areas. In some areas and provinces like around Negara/Jembrana, Semarapura/KlungKlung, Singaraja/Buleleng they will mainly be Balinese. Areas like Kuta, Legian, Denpasar, Sanur you'll see more from elsewhere of those who came here for work.


Monday 29th of August 2022

@Wayan Bo,

The "kebaya" attires adorned in batik fabrics for Indonesian women should still be a continued cultural legacy. The Indonesian identity regardless of religious belief in expressing themselves shall not be replaced by a foreign religious identity. Some the more extreme foreign attires are actually cultural and not always a religious one to portray modesty and piety.


Saturday 27th of August 2022

As I've posted as an Australian expat who was here for the bombing I feel uncomfortable with what appears to be Australian cultural colonialism/hijacking on this awful happening. Yes 88 of the 202 killed were Australian. Do the maths, 114 weren't. If you take the combined death and injury toll Balinese and other Indonesians by far topped it. Remember no social security, the main industry stuffed.... Also culturally Balinese do not celebrate/have remembrances for such things. Also remember none of those involved were Balinese. Just a thought. Could you imagine the sh#t fight if quite rightly the Australian 1st Nations said they wanted a memorial and regular ceremony at Sydney Cove and Botany Bay? There's this mistaken belief Bali would collapse if Australians stopped going. Bulldust. At it's peak Australia accounted for around 27% otf inbound tourists. Do the maths...73% don't come from OZ.


Monday 29th of August 2022

@Shorty, Your honest statement on here has brightened my day. You have exposed how easily a double standard card can play out by ignoring the other society who also have suffered equally but chose to move on quietly.