Outrage from Jan Laczynski after Bali bombings memorial service shows ‘traumatic’ footage of Umar Patek

The Australian government says it is “deeply disappointed” with a 20-year Bali bombings memorial service after footage of the bombers and attacks was shown.

The service was held at site of the attack at Kuta on Wednesday night, with attendees expecting to see to be an appropriate tribute for the 202 people – including 88 Australians – who were killed in the 2002 suicide bombings.

Instead, they were horrified when a video featuring Umar Patek, who was convicted for assembling the explosive devices used, the other bombers and the attacks was played.

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the government would be contacting Indonesian authorities over the decision to air the footage.

“The Australian government’s focus on the anniversary was honouring the lives of the victims and the courage and resilience shown by survivors and their families at our daytime services in Bali, in Canberra, and at events across the country,” they said.

“The Australian government wasn’t involved in organising the evening event in Bali. We are deeply disappointed by the decisions made by organisers. We will be formally registering our concerns with the Indonesian authorities.

“We understand the distress it has caused and stand ready to offer assistance to any Australians who may need it.”

Jan Laczynski lost five of his friends, who were killed at the Sari Club. He only survived because he had left early after misreading his plane ticket.

Mr Laczynski said he had “not slept” since the video was shown at the memorial service, which he attended on Wednesday night.

“We were expecting a minute‘s silence once we got to 11.05pm, the moment these terrorist attacks occurred in Bali 20 years ago last night,” Mr Laczynski told 2GB on Thursday.

“But instead we had Umar Patek, he was there smiling away, raising flags. You had all the Bali bombers being paraded. You had the actual bomb sequences happening on the screen.”

Patek, who was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in 2012, is expected to be released from prison soon for “good behaviour”.

Mr Laczynski said the event should have been about the 202 people who lost their lives instead of showing the “traumatic” scenes.

“The focus should have been on them … not having Umar Patek and other terrorists paraded as some heroes and to show the actual footage of the actual bombs exploding and the fire and aftermath was just. I just don‘t understand it,” he told the Today show on Thursday.

“All the events were perfect right up to around about 11pm last night when they chose to show these terrorists being paraded around.

“It just made no sense and to show people running out of the Sari Club with their burns, it was just traumatic watching that.

“I had no idea that this was going to happen.”

Mr Laczynski said he and others left the service because the footage was so confronting.

“When I saw this was happening, I actually walked away from towards the Sari Club area because I just didn‘t want to see that,” he said.

“I saw a couple of girls and other people were just running, crying. They were in tears seeing that, it was very traumatic and it just didn’t make any sense.

“Why would you do this at 11pm, exactly 20 years to the moment to the night?”

Mr Laczynski said he did not know who put the ceremony together or why they chose to show the video.

Wednesday night’s service was held at Kuta’s ground zero monument, while numerous events were held across Australia.

A service was held at Sydney’s Coogee Beach, where Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the “architects of slaughter” who orchestrated the terrorist attack that killed more Australians than any other event of its kind.

Paul Yeo spoke at the memorial in Coogee, paying tribute to his brother Gerard, a member of the Coogee Dolphins rugby league club who was killed that night along with five of his teammates.

Mr Yeo said Gerard had only recently moved to Coogee from Dubbo in regional NSW before he went on the trip to Bali.

“We thought what a better way to get a young fella into the community? To have a game of football,” Mr Yeo said.

Mr Yeo recalled the moment he called his father to inform him that it “wasn’t looking good for his boy” in Bali.

“Silence followed, he was broken,” Mr Yeo said.

He had decided not to attend the club’s annual end of year trip to Bali because his first child was due to be born not long after.

Dave Byron, who lost his 15-year-old daughter Chloe in the bombings, delivered the closing address.

“I woke up this morning and honestly I just felt like death,” he said.

“I got in the car, I drove round Bondi three times, pulled up and I see all of you guys.

“And you guys are what make my heart swell.”

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