Guantanamo detainee due to appear before military tribunal for bombings in Indonesia | Al Qaeda News
Medan, Indonesia – An Indonesian detained in a US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is to be tried on Monday, 18 years after his arrest in a series of “terrorist attacks”, including the deadly attack on a nightclub and ‘a hotel in Indonesia in the early 2000s.
Encep Nurjaman, also known as Hambali and Riduan bin Isomudin, faces a military commission on war crimes charges, including murder, “terrorism” and conspiracy.
Two Malaysian men accused of being accomplices will also be tried alongside him, namely Mohammed Nazir bin Lep and Mohammed Farik bin Amin.
Some of the charges against the three men relate to the 2002 bombings of nightclubs in Bali and the 2003 attack on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta.
At least 213 people were killed and more than 350 injured in the shelling.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), of which Hambali was the commander, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Described by former US President George W Bush as “one of the deadliest terrorists in the world,” Hambali was arrested during a joint operation by US and Thai forces in northern Thailand in 2003. In addition allegations of organizing the bombings in Indonesia, the JI leader was also accused of being involved in a series of foiled plots in Singapore, Australia and the Philippines, as well as of having close ties with the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
For three years after his arrest, Hambali was held in a secret detention camp run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was reportedly subjected to torture as part of the so-called “enhanced interrogation” program.
Lawyers for the 57-year-old man said he was left naked, deprived of food and sleep, and forced to sit and stand in stressful positions for long periods of time. They say he was also subjected to a practice known as “walling”, in which interrogators placed a collar around his neck and slammed his head against a wall.
The abuse reportedly continued after Hambali’s transfer to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2006.
He has since been held there without trial.
Fair trial issues
Military prosecutors first sought to press charges against Hambali in 2017, according to the New York Times, but the case was dismissed by a series of officials who held the title of convening authority for military commissions – for reasons which have not been made public. Prosecutors renewed their efforts in 2019, and the convening authority approved the case against the three men in January this year.
It is not known why it took so long for the US government to bring Hambali to justice, although his lawyer, Major James Valentine, previously claimed that the US government did not want to prosecute its client because “it there is a risk that the world will find out what the United States has done and the violations of international human rights standards that it has committed ”.
Valentine also questioned Hambali’s ability to get a fair trial, telling Australian broadcaster ABC in 2019 that the United States “can never let the world know what they’ve done to it, so how can – do they have a fair trial where they allow the production and discovery of defense evidence? ”
The lawyer also questioned the evidence against Hambali, telling the New York Times in 2019 that it would be “very difficult” to link his client to the 2002 Bali bombing and the JW attack. Marriott in 2003. He noted, for example, that three of the four men convicted of carrying out the Bali bombings were executed by Indonesian authorities in 2008, while the remaining man – Ali Imron, who did not executed for his role in the bombing after apologizing and expressing remorse – never “connected Hambali to these crimes”.
Speaking from prison, Imron told Al Jazeera that Hambali had no direct involvement in the Bali bombings and provided no direct funding.
“I was told… that the money for the Bali bombing came from Osama bin Laden and not directly from Hambali,” he said.
However, Imron said Hambali had “encouraged” a series of bombings that targeted Indonesian churches on Christmas Eve in 2000 and killed at least 18 people.
The 42-year-old said he expected to be called as a witness during Hambali’s trial, as he had been questioned on it on several occasions by US authorities.
Another JI member who trained with Hambali in Afghanistan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Nasir Abas, told Al Jazeera that Hambali’s main role in the group was to channel money. al-Qaeda to finance its operations.
Describing Hambali as “polite, gentle, good speaking and intelligent”, Abas said that Hambali had never been involved in the planning or execution of attacks on the ground.
Abas, who is now working with Indonesian authorities on “de-radicalization programs”, said he also believes that Hambali should have been sent back to Indonesia for trial.
Others, including human rights lawyer Ranto Sibarani, have also suggested that Hambali should be sent back to Indonesia for trial, noting that the crimes that Hambali was accused of committing took place in that country. South East Asia.
Sibarani also said Hambali’s prolonged detention at Guantanamo Bay suggested that the United States was having difficulty proving the charges against him.
“The Indonesian government should be more proactive and follow in the footsteps of the British and Australian governments which have sought to repatriate their nationals from Guantanamo Bay after negotiations with the American authorities,” Sibarani said.
“No matter how serious the charges or charges brought against Hambali by the United States, he remains an Indonesian citizen who deserves protection under the law. In addition, he is being held at Guantanamo Bay, a place whose very existence is controversial and inhuman in the eyes of the international community.
The lawyer added that Hambali’s case could prove to be a legal headache for the United States.
“In other words, even if Hambali is suspected of being a terrorist with many blood on his hands, it could be that his detention and subsequent military commission were just as cruel and contrary to law. law, ”he said. noted.
The Indonesian government has yet to comment on the case.