Indonesian bomb suspect never met bin Laden: lawyer

Suspected Indonesian bombmaker Umar Patek's stay in the same Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was later killed in a US raid was a coincidence and the pair never met, according to his lawyer.

Patek, 45, faces six counts of murder, bomb-making and illegal firearms possession over the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks, and prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty.

In his trial at the West Jakarta court on Monday, defence lawyers objected to the murder charges, saying Patek was not involved in planning the bombing that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Patek, once the most wanted terror suspect in Indonesia, had a $1 million bounty on his head under the US rewards for justice programme.

He was extradited to Indonesia after being arrested in January 2011 in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where US commandos later killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Defence lawyer Asludin Hatjani denied that Patek had gone to Pakistan to meet with the Al-Qaeda boss.

"He went to Pakistan as part of his plans to migrate to Afghanistan. He never met Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and he had no plans to meet him. In fact, he had no idea Osama was in Abbottabad," Hatjani said.

He denied Patek was linked to Al-Qaeda. "Even the police statements make no mention of his links to Al-Qaeda," he said.

Patek was a suspected key member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian terror network with suspected links to Al-Qaeda.

Hatjani added that Patek's role in the Bali bombings was smaller than the prosecution was trying to portray.

"His role in the Bali bombing was that he... participated in assembling the bombs," he told reporters after Monday's session.

"The premeditated murder charge is not appropriate."

He said defence lawyers had also denied that Patek tested three M16 assault rifles to help prepare a terrorist training camp in Aceh province on Sumatra island, where police say militants were planning gun attacks on prominent Indonesian figures.

"He never participated in the testing of firearms. He was in the area but to attend a wedding. He never saw any firearms or took part in the militant training... We call that this charge be legally invalid."

"The prosecution will prove in future trials and bring forward witnesses to prove that our premeditated murder charge has basis," prosecutor Bambang Suharyadi told AFP.

According to the indictment Patek was involved in assembling the bombs for the Bali attacks and strikes on churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve of 2000.

Patek allegedly used simple household tools including a rice ladle to assemble the Bali bombs, which were placed in ordinary filing cabinets, according to Suharyadi and details contained in the indictment.

Patek is also wanted in the Philippines, where he allegedly plotted attacks with militants after escaping the Indonesian dragnet.

He is believed to be indirectly associated with Indonesian terror suspect Hambali, who is in US custody at Guantanamo Bay, and radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who was jailed last June for funding terrorism.

Patek's trial, which began last Monday, is expected to last at least four months.

  • How a mom accidentally stole a car in under 60 seconds 1 hour 22 minutes ago
    How a mom accidentally stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 3 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 4 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...

  • Over 280 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes
    Over 280 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

    By Narae Kim JINDO South Korea (Reuters) - More than 280 people, many of them students from the same high school, were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea on Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years. It was not immediately clear why the Sewol ferry listed heavily on to its side and capsized in apparently calm conditions off South Korea's southwest coast, but some survivors spoke of a loud noise prior to the disaster.