Formal charges have been filed by US military prosecutors against an Indonesian extremist and two Malaysians involved in the terror attack in Bali and Jakarta, the Pentagon said.
The charges were filed nearly 18 years after the three were captured in Thailand and after each has spent more than 14 years in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The first charge is against Indonesian militant Riduan Isamuddin, better known by his nom de guerre Hambali, leader of the Indonesian jihadist group Jemaah Islamiyyah. He’s believed to have been Al-Qaeda’s top representative in the region.
The other two charges are against two Malaysians, Mohammed Nazir bin Lep and Mohammad Farik bin Hamid, Hambali’s top aides in Jemaah Islamiyyah who underwent Al-Qaeda’s training, according to Guantanamo case documents.
Supported by the Al-Qaeda, the group carried out bombings at tourist clubs in Bali on 12 October 2002 that killed 202 people, and the attack on 5 August 2003 on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 and injured many others.
“The charges include conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, destruction of property, and accessory after the fact, all in violation of the law of war,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
It was not clear why after years of delay, the charges before Guantanamo’s military tribunal were announced on Thursday, which was the first full day of the administration of newly-elected President Joe Biden.
According to AFP, in 2016, Hambali’s bid to be released from Guantanamo Bay was denied because prosecutors said he still represented a “significant threat to the security of the United States”.