Alleged terrorism financier stands trial in Indonesia’s deadly twin hotel bombings

By Ali Kotarumalos, AP
Monday, February 22, 2010

Indonesian stands trial over hotel bombings

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A retired Saudi Arabian school teacher was to stand trial on Wednesday charged with financing suicide bombings at two Jakarta hotels that killed seven and injured more than 50.

Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah, 55, denied any involvement in the July 17, 2009, attacks on the downtown J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels.

“I’m not a terrorist. I’ll fight it,” Abdullah told reporters as he arrived at the South Jakarta District Court.

Abdullah is charged with helping support terrorists by giving or lending money to perpetrators of a terrorist act. He faces a maximum 20 years in prison if convicted.

Abdullah is the fourth alleged conspirator to go an trial this month over the hotel bombings that ended a four-year lull in terrorist attacks in this country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

Prosecutors contend that Abdullah provided money to one of the alleged chief planners of the attacks, Syaefudin Zuhri, who was later killed in a police raid.

Zuhri allegedly flew to the Saudi holy city of Mecca to raise money for the attacks.

Prosecutors say Zuhri was accompanied by Muhammad Jibriel Abdul Rahman, 25, whose trial began in the same court Tuesday.

Prosecutors have not specified how much money they raised.

Rahman has denied a charge of helping facilitate a terrorist act by concealing information. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

Police killed nine suspects and arrested more than a dozen in the hotel bombing investigation.

The trials of alleged plotters Amir Abdillah and Aris Susanto began Feb. 10.

Abdillah was charged with concealing information about the plots on the hotels and plans to assassinate Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Police arrested the alleged conspirators before an attempt was made on the president’s life.

Susanto was charged with harboring terrorists, including alleged terrorist mastermind Noordin Top. Top, who has been blamed for a string of deadly bombings, was shot to death in a police raid in September last year.

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