Accessibility links

Breaking News

Philippine Court Sentences al-Qaida-linked Indonesian on Explosives Charge - 2002-04-18

An Indonesian man linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network was sentenced to 10-12 years in prison Thursday, after pleading guilty to illegal possession of explosives in the Philippines.

Philippine police arrested Fathur Al-Ghozi early this year. He was charged with illegal possession of explosives and masterminding a series of explosions in Manila that killed more than a dozen people in December 2000.

Philippine authorities say Fathur is an explosives expert for the Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian extremist group. The United States has linked the group to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

Regional intelligence officials say the group planned a bombing campaign against American, British, Australian and Israeli targets in Singapore.

After his arrest in January, Fathur gave Philippine police information leading to the discovery of more than a ton of explosives, hundreds of detonators, several rifles and rolls of detonating cord. The arms were buried in the southern city of General Santos.

Fathur, 31, pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of illegal weapons possession. His lawyer, Confesor Sansano, asked that the charges be re-investigated. He also asked that Fathur be given a light sentence and be allowed to serve half of his sentence in the Philippines and the other half in Indonesia.

Fathur has not yet been charged with the Manila bombings. He faces more charges, which prosecutors say may include multiple counts of murder for the blasts.

Three other Indonesians were arrested last month at Manila's international airport, suspected of being involved in the bombings and of possessing explosives.