Tue, 24 Jun 2003

Suspected bomber of RP envoy's home goes on trial

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The trial of Abdul Jabar, the main suspect in the bombing of the Philippines ambassador's residence and two churches in Jakarta in 2000, opened at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday.

The trial is one of a number of trials throughout Indonesia involving Muslim terror group Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), including the devastating Bali bombings on Oct. 12, 2002.

Prosecutor Suharto accused the defendant, who turned himself in last January, of having planted a car bomb at the residence in Central Jakarta on Aug. 1, 2000. The blast killed security guard Sofyan Hendrawan, housemaid Suhantin, and injured 21 others, including ambassador Leonides T. Caday.

"The bombing was in revenge for the death of fellow Muslims in the Philippines," the prosecutor alleged as he read the indictment.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has waged a war for independence in the southern Philippines for 25 years. A military offensive in 2000 led to the destruction of its headquarters at Camp Abubakar on Mindanao island.

Suharto said the attack was jointly carried out with Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi, who is serving a 12-year jail term in the Philippines for possession of explosives; Amrozi, who is a prime suspect in the Bali bombings; Edi Setiono; and Asep, alias Darwin.

Al-Ghozi, in a written depositions to Philippine police this month, admitted setting off the residence bomb along with other JI members led by Hambali. Hambali, believed as the mastermind of the Bali attack, was JI's operations chief and is still at large.

Jabar, 35, is the son of the late Ahmad Kandai who was involved in an assassination attempt on founding president Sukarno who was visiting the Cikini Institute in Central Jakarta on Nov. 30, 1957. The attempt, using a grenade, failed.

Jabar is also accused of bombing the Koinonia Church in East Jakarta and the Anglican church in Central Jakarta on Dec. 24, 2000. Four people were killed in the attacks.

A wave of coordinated bomb attacks on churches in different cities across the country that Christmas Eve killed 19 people and injured 120 others.

Jabar is charged with illegal possession of explosives according to the Emergency Law No. 12, 1951, which carries the death penalty.

Two of the Christmas bombers in Jakarta, Dedy Setiono alias Abas, and Dani, a Malaysian citizen, have received death sentences, while other suspects, including Rusli, alias Dicky, are still at large.

Presiding Judge Pramudana Kusumah adjourned the hearing to hear the defense on June 30.

Jabar eluded police for two years until last January when he surrendered to police in West Nusa Tenggara.

The Investigation report said Jabar worked with younger brother Salahudin along with friends Darwin and Musa. The trio are still at large.

Jabar's two other brothers, Farihin and Mohammad Islam, are being held for alleged involvement in bombings in Poso, Central Sulawesi.