March 27, 2012
Osama bin Laden sent as much as $30,000 to the militants who carried out the 2002 Bali bombing, witnesses in the trial of terror suspect Umar Patek testified. The funds, they said, covered numerous expenses incurred by the bombers.
"I actually did not know where the money came from but [convicted bomber] Mukhlas told me that it was received gradually from Osama," Mohammad Ikhsan, also known as Idris, told the West Jakarta District Court on Monday (March 26th).
The al-Qaeda funds, he added, went towards the purchase of a Mitsubishi L300, used as a car bomb outside a crowded nightclub in Bali's Kuta resort.
"Apart from that, the funding was also used to purchase the material for manufacturing bombs, two motorbikes, renting a house, and also the living costs for members of the Bali bomb terrorist network," Idris said.
His testimony echoes the one given by a fellow witness, Ali Imron, who is the younger brother of Mukhlas. Imron told the court Thursday that Mukhlas had received the money personally from the al-Qaeda leader.
"In 2001, while my brother was in Afghanistan, he met Osama bin Laden and carried back $30,000 in order to carry out amaliah jihad in Southeast Asia," said Imron, who received a life sentence in 2003 for his role in the plot. Mukhlas—also known as Ali Ghufron—and another brother of Imron’s, Amrozi, were executed in January 2003.
Much of the focus in the Patek trial has been on whether the defendant, who has admitted to mixing the bombs used in the Bali attack, was culpable for how they were used. Patek, a 42-year-old former operative with the Jemaah Islamiyah extremist network, has denied that he knew the details concerning the bomb plot.
He faces six charges, including premeditated murder, in connection with the Bali bombings and attacks carried out against six Jakarta churches on Christmas Eve in 2000, as well as identification fraud and illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Having fled the country in 2003, he was apprehended in January 2011 in Pakistan and sent back to Indonesia to face justice.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Key witnesses have corroborated charges that he mixed the deadly chemical cocktails that were detonated in the attacks. On Monday, Idris said that on one occasion when he came to deliver food to the house where the bombers were staying, he saw Patek mixing the explosive materials.
"I actually only saw it for a second and was not sure what kind of material that was mixed by Patek because I did not see the substance that was mixed. However I did see that the explosive material, which was sent from Lamongan [in East Java], had been opened," Idris said.
On Thursday, Imron said Patek appeared to express hesitation after a mishap that occurred as the group moved a filing cabinet containing the lethal stew.
"Amrozi, who was joking around or actually annoyed, dragged the filing cabinet instead of lifting it up," he said. "It caused explosive materials, which were scattered on the floor, to rub against each other and cause an explosion inside the house."
After the incident, Imron said, Patek interrupted the others and said "perhaps it is a sign we must not bomb."