Terror suspects to testify by TV link in Abubakar trial

  • ASEAN+
  • Thursday, 26 Jun 2003

JAKARTA: Three suspected terrorists detained in Singapore are set to testify via a televised link in the Jakarta trial of Indonesian Muslim ulama Abubakar Ba'asyir, a judge in the case said yesterday. 

Andi Samsan Nganro said the teleconference session would go ahead as planned today and a fellow judge was already in Singapore to watch proceedings. 

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Abubakar heads the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) regional extremist group and that he tried to topple the Indonesian Government through terrorism and to establish an Islamic state. 

Judges said last week the three alleged JI members – Faiz bin Abu Bakar Bafana, Jaafar bin Mistooki and Hashim bin Abas – could testify. They are among an initial group of 13 JI suspects detained in the island republic in December 2001 for allegedly planning a series of bomb attacks there. 

Prosecutors say Abubakar plotted to bomb US interests in Singapore and authorised the Christmas Eve bombings of numerous churches and priests in Indonesia in 2000, in which 19 people were killed. 

They say Faiz was ordered by a man called Hambali – JI's former operations chief who is now on the run – to tell Abubakar of a plan for bombings in Indonesia and to seek his blessing. 

Faiz is a Malaysian and the other likely witnesses are Singaporeans, according to a Singapore Government document on the arrests. 

None of the witnesses called so far – including five Bali bomb suspects – have implicated Abubakar in the bombings or linked him definitively to JI. Two said they had either believed or had been told he was the network's leader. 

The judges have said that court representatives, prosecutors and defence lawyers can be present in Singapore to witness the testimony if they wish. – AFP  

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