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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 06:25 GMT 07:25 UK
Philippines jails al-Qaeda suspect
Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi is escorted to the Philippines Department of Justice
Al-Ghozi is suspected of being a bomb maker
An Indonesian man suspected of links to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network has been jailed for a minimum of 10 years in the Philippines for illegal possession of explosives.

Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, who was also fined $4,000, appeared amid tight security at court in the city of General Santos, where police said they found explosives buried in the backyard of a house in February this year.

Al-Ghozi is suspected of being a bomb maker for the militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which analysts say wants to establish an Islamic state to include parts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

In a statement to Philippine prosecutors before his trial he said he had planned a wave of simultaneous bombings that killed 22 people in the Philippines in 2000.


He still faces charges that may include murder charges relating to the bombings, prosecutors told the Associated Press news agency.

Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi being questioned by prosecutors
Al-Ghozi may yet face murder charges, prosecutors said

Earlier he had claimed that he had only helped obtain funds to finance the operation.

Three men were also arraigned earlier this month for alleged involvement in the blasts after being arrested at Manila airport, AP reported.

Al-Ghozi was arrested in the Philippine capital Manila in January following a tip-off by Singapore police.

Thirteen members of the Jemaah Islamiyah group were also recently arrested in Singapore - eight of whom are suspected by police of having received al-Qaeda training in Afghanistan.


The group is suspected of being behind a foiled plan to attack western targets in Singapore.

The blasts in Manila on 30 December 2000 injured 120 people in addition to those 22 killed.

The bombs were planted on a train, a bus, at an abandoned petrol station, an airport car park and a park.

Al-Ghozi said he plotted the bombings as revenge against a government crackdown on a Muslim separatist group in the southern Philippines.

"The truth is I planned the bombings," Al-Ghozi said.

However he claimed he had intended that no-one got hurt, saying the actual bombings were planned by men under the authority of an alleged Filipino militant called Hadji Onos, also known as Muklis, AP reported.

See also:

18 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
South-East Asia's terror clampdown
18 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia swoops on Islamic militants
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
US commander visits Philippines
17 Apr 02 | Americas
Al-Qaeda man claims 11 September
16 Apr 02 | South Asia
UK troops sweep Afghan valley
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: The Philippines
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