An Indonesian bomb maker has apologized to the families of the victims for making the explosives used in the 2002 Bali bombings.
Umar Patek was jailed for 20 years in 2012 after being found guilty of helping to mix up bombs used to inflict mass murder at two tourist bars on the island in 2002.
He was paroled last week after serving around half his original sentence for the travesty which killed 202 people, mostly tourists, including 88 Australians.
He was a senior member of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, which was blamed for the explosions at two Kuta Beach nightclubs.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he said: “I not only apologize to the people of Bali in particular, but I also apologize to all Indonesians.
“I also sincerely apologize, especially to Australians who also suffered a very great impact from the crime of the Bali bombing,” Patek said.
“I also apologize to the victims and their families both at home and abroad, whatever their nationality, whatever their ethnicity, whatever their religion, I sincerely apologize to them.”
Patek had visited former activist Ali Fauzi, a longtime friend who runs a program to deradicalize activists in the village of Tenggulun in East Java.
Dressed in a gray shirt and traditional Javanese headgear, he received a warm welcome from his old friends, some of whom were ex-convicts who had joined the program.
Indonesian authorities say Patek was successfully reformed in prison, adding that they will use it to influence other activists to shy away from terrorism.
However, he is still under supervision and will have to participate in a mentorship program until the end of his parole on April 29, 2030.
In August, news of Patek’s impending early release sparked outrage in Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called him “odious”, saying his freedom would cause further distress to Australians who suffered the trauma of the bombings.
Eighty-eight Australians, 38 Indonesians and 23 Britons were among those killed when a suicide bomber set off his device inside Irish bar Paddy’s on October 12, 2002.
Seconds later, as people fled down the street, a van packed with explosives exploded at the nearby Sari Club.
Hundreds of people in the bustling Kuta district were seriously burned in the attack, which overwhelmed local hospitals.
Patek was jailed after being on the run for nine years with a $1 million reward on his head. He was eventually captured in 2011 in the same Pakistani city where Osama bin Laden was killed – Abbottabad.
Three men were later executed for their part in the attack.