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Pakistan Hands Over Terror Suspects to Indonesia - 2003-12-10


Pakistan has handed over six Indonesian terror suspects to Jakarta, including the brother of a top operative of the al-Qaida terror network in Asia. Pakistani authorities on Wednesday handed over the six men to a delegation from Indonesia, which they say had come with a formal request to take custody of the detainees.

The Indonesian nationals were captured during raids on Islamic seminaries in the southern city of Karachi in September. They are suspected of having ties with the Southeast Asian terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which is linked to the al-Qaida network.

Jemaah Islamiyah is blamed for a string of regional terror attacks, including last year's bombings in Bali, Indonesia, that killed more than 200 people.

Pakistani officials say the younger brother - Rusman Gunawan - of Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, is among the six men handed over to Indonesia. Hambali is allegedly the operational leader of Jemaah Islamiyah and is considered to be al-Qaida's top operative in Southeast Asia. He was captured in Thailand in August and is now in U.S. custody.

Pakistan officials say the six Indonesians were not suspected of any crimes in the country.

Earlier, the government deported 13 Malaysian students who were caught in the same raids. On Wednesday, Malaysian police said five the students had been ordered detained for two years, and are suspected of having trained as terrorists. The other eight have been freed.

Wednesday's handover of the six men comes ahead of Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri's first official visit to Pakistan, which starts Sunday.

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