MANILA: A suspected Muslim extremist leader pleaded innocent yesterday to charges of organising the 2000 kidnapping of 21 people, including Western tourists, from a Malaysian resort in one of Asia's most high-profile abductions.
Ghalib Andang, lying on a stretcher with his leg amputated, was arraigned in a tightly guarded suburban Manila court in a rare public appearance since his capture last year, officials said.
Andang, accompanied by his lawyer, replied “not guilty'' through an interpreter to charges that he masterminded the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf's abduction of 10 Western tourists and 11 Asians from the Sipadan island resort in Malaysia.
The hostages were later freed in exchange for large ransoms reportedly financed by Libya.
Andang, also known as Commander Robot, was captured during a gunfight on Jolo island in December. – AP
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