Umar Patek, Bali bomb suspect, goes on trial in Indonesia

Umar Patek arrives at the West Jakarta court in February in an armored vehicle, escorted by police commandos.</p>

Umar Patek arrives at the West Jakarta court in February in an armored vehicle, escorted by police commandos.

Umar Patek, an Islamic militant and alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing which killed 202 people, has gone on trial in Indonesia.

Among the charges against Patek, 45, are premeditated murder, making bombs, and illegal possession of firearms. He was arrested in January 2011 in Abbottabad, the same Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces.

According to the Agence France Presse, Patek had a $1 million bounty on his head under the US rewards for justice program. He could face the death penalty.

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Patek is the top remaining suspect in the 2002 nightclub bomb attacks that killed nationals from 21 countries in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali, according to the Associated Press.

He is believed to be a member of Jemaah Islamiah, a banned Al Qaeda-linked group which seeks to create a pan-Islamic state throughout southeast Asia and believed by authorities to have been responsible for the Bali attacks.

Patek is also accused of mixing chemicals for 13 bombs that exploded in five churches in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on Christmas Eve, 2000, killing around 15 people, Reuters reported.

His trial is expected to last several months, with a verdict likely to be handed down at the end of May or beginning of June. Patek arrived at the West Jakarta court today in an armored vehicle, escorted by armed police commandos.

Between 260 and 300 police were deployed to guard to the court, the BBC reported, which specialist anti-terrorism and anti-mob units also monitoring the capital.  

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