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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 September, 2003, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Thais charged with terror plots
Terrorist suspects Maisuri Haji Abdullah (C) and his son Mayahi Haji Doloh (behind-R),
JI are alleged to have established cells throughout the region
Thai police have formally charged four alleged members of the Muslim militant group Jemaah Islamiah with plotting to bomb embassies and tourist spots in the country.

State prosecutor Niphon Kwanyoo said the Thai nationals were accused of preparing to launch crimes within Thailand from abroad and seeking perpetrators to carry them out.

Prosecutors are also asking Singapore to hand over one of its nationals, a man called Arifin bin Ali, for trial on similar charges.

Three of the Thais were arrested in June, the fourth surrendered in July.

They are accused of targeting the American, Australian, British, Israeli and Singaporean embassies, as well as tourist areas in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya.

Hambali link

The Thai suspects - Maizuru Haiji Abdullah, Mujahid Haiji Abdullah, Waehamadi Wadao and Saman Waekaji - are to enter their pleas on Wednesday.

Their lawyer, Somchai Neelajit, told the French news agency AFP that they would plead not guilty.

"They have maintained their innocence since they were arrested. The police announced the false claim that they had confessed to the charges," Mr Somchai reportedly said.

According to the Associated Press news agency, intelligence officials claim the four Thais and the Singaporean were working with top Asian terror suspect Hambali, who was arrested in central Thailand last month.

Hambali is believed to be the operations chief for Jemaah Islamiah and has been linked with a string of bombings across the region, including last year's devastating attack on nightclubs in Bali.



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