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Paroled Bali attacker apologizes for nightclub bombings that killed 202 | CNN

An Indonesian bomb-maker convicted of his role in the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub attacks has apologized to the families of the victims, after his release from prison was met with outrage in Australia.

Umar Patek, a member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, was jailed for 20 years in 2012 after being found guilty of making bombs that ripped up two Bali nightclubs and killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians. He was released on parole last week.

“I apologize to the victims and their families, both at home and abroad, whatever their country, whatever their ethnicity, whatever their religion,” Patek said in an interview Tuesday at a de-radicalization center in East Java province.

“I apologize to the Australian people who have been deeply affected by the Bali bombing,” he added.

Patek also said he would help the Indonesian government in its counter-terrorism efforts, adding that he was “ready to become an ambassador of peace.”

Patek will be required to participate in a “mentoring program” until April 2030, and any violation could result in his probation being revoked, the Indonesian Ministry of Justice said.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has pioneered a de-radicalization program along with cracking down on security as part of its efforts to counter a resurgence of Islamic militancy.

Patek’s launch has sparked outrage in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said shortly after his release that it was a “tough day” for Australians who lost loved ones and family members in the attacks.

Paul Vanni, community and associations officer for the Sydney Coogee Dolphins rugby team, which lost six members in the Bali attacks, dismissed the apology.

“Words mean nothing. It’s a complete slap in the face. He’s a killer, a killer,” Vanni said.

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