Lawyers: Bali bombing charges should be dropped

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By NINIEK KARMINI, Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Lawyers for an Indonesian militant who made bombs used in the 2002 Bali nightclub blasts said Monday the charges against him are obscure and should be dropped.

They also said Indonesia's tough anti-terrorism law can't be applied retroactively and that Umar Patek didn't take part in preplanning meetings and was not guilty of premeditated murder.

Trial began last week for the 45-year-old Patek, known as "Demolition Man" for his expertise with explosives.

He was one of the last few ranking militants with the al-Qaida-linked regional network Jemaah Islamiyah still on the run when he was arrested a year ago in Pakistan. Intelligence agents found him in Abbottabad, the same northwestern town where Osama bin Laden was killed several months later.

Patek faces a maximum penalty of death by firing squad if convicted of various terror-related and criminal charges, most of which are tied to the Bali bombings that left 202 people dead, including 88 Australians and seven Americans. It was the deadliest terror strike ever in Asia.

Patek sat quietly in the West Jakarta District courtroom Monday, listening as his attorneys refuted the allegations.

Ashluddin Hatjani said the charges faced by the defendant were "incomplete, obscure and not accurate." He also argued that because anti-terror legislation wasn't passed until 2003, it can't be applied retroactively.

And while Patek has admitted assembling the explosives, he did so at the request of one of the Bali bombing masterminds, Imam Samudra, who was executed in 2008, Hatjani said. Patek had no way of knowing how they would be used, he said.

Last week, prosecutors said Patek helped assemble detonating cords and boosters for the bombs as well as the suicide vests strapped to the militants who walked into two nightclubs throbbing on a busy Saturday night.

They said Patek left Bali on Oct. 11, 2002 — one day before the blasts.

Prosecutors have also accused him of helping teach militants how to use assault rifles for a terrorist training camp that was uncovered in Aceh province in early 2010.

Hatjani denied that and other weapons smuggling allegations.

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