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Saudi teacher on trial for funding Jakarta hotel bombs

Damage at Marriott hotel
The hotels are in Jakarta's central business district

A retired Saudi Arabian schoolteacher has been charged with providing the funds for the deadly attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta last July.

Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah, 55, is accused of funnelling money through an internet cafe in West Java.

He is the fourth person to go on trial this month over the Jakarta bombings - along with the suspected driver, bag-man and helpers in the attacks.

The twin hotel suicide bombings killed seven people and injured 50 more.

The BBC's Indonesia correspondent Karishma Vaswani says that Mr Abdullah came to Indonesia from Saudi Arabia in November 2008.

Denies charges

He set up an internet cafe - a seemingly innocent business venture.

I heard two sounds like 'boom, boom' coming from the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton - then I saw people running out
Eko Susanto, security guard

Prosecutors say that this is where they believe the money trail for the Jakarta bombings began.

They told the Jakarta court Mr Abdullah gave funds to a key contact in the group thought to be behind the blasts.

Prosecutors said he was then later introduced to the suicide bomber in the Jakarta blasts and another man who is believed to have booked the room in the JW Marriott hotel where one of the bombs exploded.

If found guilty, Mr Abdullah could face up to 20 years in prison, but he says he is innocent.

Closely scrutinised

Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, who went by the online moniker "Prince of Jihad", appeared in court on Tuesday, accused of flying to Saudi Arabia to raise money to finance the attacks.

Prosecutors alleged that the 25-year-old had ties to alleged regional terrorist mastermind Noordin Top.

INDONESIA ATTACKS
Dec 2000: Church bombings kill 19
Oct 2002: Bali attacks kill 202
Dec 2002: Sulawesi McDonald's blast kills three
Aug 2003: Jakarta Marriott Hotel bomb kills 12
Sept 2004: Bomb outside Australian embassy in Jakarta
Sept 2005: Suicide attacks in Bali leave 23 dead, including bombers

The case is being watched closely by security analysts in Indonesia, for clues about what kind of network Mr Noordin may still have in Indonesia - and crucially, whether the funding for the attacks came from within the country or from overseas.

Another trial began last week of Amir Abdillah, 34, accused of being the driver for Mr Noordin, who was shot by police in a September raid on a central Java village.

Indonesia suffered a number of bomb attacks - mainly linked to the militant group Jemaah Islamiah - in the first years of the century.

The country of 240 million people has been praised in recent years for maintaining a pluralist democracy, while punishing Islamists behind a series of bombings.



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SEE ALSO
Jakarta hotel bombs trial begins
10 Feb 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Obituary: Noordin Mohamed Top
17 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific
An attack waiting to happen?
17 Jul 09 |  Asia-Pacific
'There was a huge explosion'
17 Jul 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia braces for tourism blow
17 Jul 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Man Utd cancel match after blasts
17 Jul 09 |  Man Utd
Profile: Jemaah Islamiah
10 Mar 10 |  Asia-Pacific


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