One of Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorism suspects has been extradited to Indonesia and was flown back to his homeland on Thursday.
The terrorist, Umar Patek, is accused in Indonesia of playing a key role in various attacks, including the 2002 bombings that killed 202 on the island of Bali.
Patek was captured in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in January, bringing an end to an international manhunt that lasted for nearly a decade, The New York Times is reporting.
Patek is a senior member of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terrorist network who was also active in the southern Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf. Security officials are hoping his capture will shed light on connections between Southeast Asian Islamist militants and international networks, including Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
According to the report, Patek was driven under heavy security in the early hours on Thursday to detention south of Jakarta, where the police questioned him ahead of filing charges.
Patek had already admitted under questioning in Pakistan to manufacturing the bombs used in the Bali attacks.
Unfortunately, the fact that the attack happened prior to 2003 means Indonesia will be unable to prosecute Patek, due to a harsh anti-terrorism law passed that year.
While a senior official told The New York Times that it is “not really possible” that Patek would go free, he added his punishment “could be lighter than possible under the anti-terrorism law.”
Another official said Patek would be charged for premeditated murder under Indonesia’s criminal code, as well as for violating a decades-old emergency law.
It is also hoped that Patek’s transfer to Indonesia will answer the question of why he was in Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals just several months after his capture.