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Jemaah Islamiyah Linked to Terrorism Throughout Southeast Asia - 2003-07-03


Witnesses in the trial of an alleged Southeast Asian terrorist group leader have provided more evidence that the group, Jemaah Islamiyah, is operating throughout the region.

Abu Bakar Bashir is standing trial for treason, accused of being the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a group Indonesian prosecutors say uses violent means to create an Islamic super-state across much of Southeast Asia.

Ahmed Sajuli bin Abdurrahman was one of four men giving evidence by videophone from Malaysia, where they are in the custody of the Malaysian authorities. Mr. Abdurrahman says that when the old leader of Jemaah Islamiyah died in 1999, Mr. Bashir was named the leader.

He said when Adbullah Sungkar died, the leadership passed to Abu Bakar Bashir in Indonesia.

Mr. Abdurrahman also told the court that he had organized training for as many as 30 militants in Afghanistan and the restive islands of the southern Philippines.

The Indonesian police say they believe that Jemaah Islamiyah was behind the bombings in Bali last October in which more than 200 people died. Mr. Bashir has not been charged in connection with that attack, but he is accused of masterminding the bombing of a number of Christian churches across Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000. Nineteen people died in those attacks.

Mr. Bashir denies all charges, and his lawyers walked out of court saying the evidence of the alleged Malaysian militants was not admissible because they were not on Indonesian soil.