TERRORISM: Singaporean charged with cafe bomb plot

 The Jakarta Post (http://www.thejakartapost.com)

Dicky Christanto , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta |
Wed, 01/14/2009 8:37 AM | Headlines

Awaiting justice: Singaporean Muhammad Hasan bin Sirajudin (left) speaks with fellow detainees before their trial at the South Jakarta District Court on Monday. (JP/P.J. Leo)

A suspected leader of the Singapore chapter of Jamaah Islamiyah and two accomplices were charged with plotting bomb attacks and murders in the country, a court heard Tuesday.

State prosecutors told the South Jakarta District Court justices in their indictment that the defendants had violated the Antiterrorism Law, which carries a maximum sentence of death.

Singaporean national Muhamad Hasan, alias Fajar, 35, and his Indonesian partners Ali Masyhudi, 26, and Wahyudi, 35, were part of a group of 10 people arrested in the South Sumatra capital of Palembang in a police crackdown early last year. The antiterror squad found assembled high explosive bombs in their rented house.

They were moved to Jakarta afterward and have been in custody at the Mobile Brigade detention in Kelapa Dua, Depok, since then.

“These suspects have been convincingly proven to have conducted acts of terrorism and been in possession of firearms for terrorism,” prosecutor Totok Bambang told the court.

Apart from their possession of bombs, the suspects are believed to have played a key role in an attempt to explode Café Bedudel in the West Sumatra town of Bukittinggi.

The café is a popular place among foreign tourists visiting the hilly town.

Police said the attack would be launched in November 2007, using a bomb similar to those that ripped through two nightclubs in the Bali resort area of Kuta in 2002. The Bali blast killed over 200 people, mostly foreign tourists.

“The suspects admitted they disarmed the bomb as they saw several café workers wearing head scarves,” Totok said.

The prosecutors said they believed Hasan had played a key role in a series of murder attempts targeting Christian figures.

“In 2006, Hasan was involved in an attempted murder of three Christian reverends, namely Muhammad Nurdin, Walean and Yoshua, but to no avail,” he said.

The prosecutors found in their investigation that Hasan was a member of regional terror group Jamaah Islamiah and had a close relationship with Malaysian bomb maker Dr. Azhari bin Husin, who was shot dead in a police raid in Malang in November 2005.

Hasan refused to make comment on the indictment.

“Don’t compare me with celebrities who like to give a lot of comments about almost everything,” he said.

His lawyer, Ashludin, said the defendants would respond to the charges in the coming trial next week. The same court had delayed the first trial of the remaining seven defendants as prosecutors failed to provide indictment papers in advance.

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