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US Paid $10 Million Reward for Capture of Terrorist, says Thai PM - 2003-09-17


Thailand's prime minister says the United States has paid $10 million as a reward for helping in last month's capture of the Southeast Asian terror suspect named Hambali. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said a large part of the reward money would go to 10 Thai security officers specified by Washington, and the rest would be distributed among the various police and military agencies that helped in the arrest. Mr. Thaksin said he would decide how much will be disbursed among the different agencies, in order to avoid "disunity" among them. Indonesian-national Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, is believed to be operations chief of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, which aims to establish a pan-Islamic state across parts of Southeast Asia. Jemaah Islamiyah is accused of a series of terrorist bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines, including last October's bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists. Hambali and his wife were captured in a joint Thai-U.S. operation last month in the central Thai city of Ayutthaya. He was quickly handed over to U.S. authorities and taken out of Thailand to an undisclosed location. The governments of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Australia all want Hambali extradited to face terrorist charges, or at least want to be given the opportunity to question him. Another of the suspects in the Bali bombing case, also an alleged member of Jemaah Islamiyah, is due to be sentenced this week.

Indonesian prosecutors have asked for a 20-year sentence for Ali Imron, suggesting leniency in his case because he has cooperated with investigators and expressed remorse over his involvement in the attack. Two other defendants, Imam Samudra and Amrozi, have already been found guilty of leading roles in the bombing and have been sentenced to death.