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Saudi on trial for Jakarta bombings
Retired Saudi teacher accused of financing 2009 hotel attacks in Indonesia.
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2010 09:08 GMT
Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah said he had moved to Indonesia to start a computer business [EPA]

A retired Saudi Arabian school teacher has gone on trial in Indonesia accused of financing last year's twin suicide bombings on Jakarta hotels.

Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah, 55, is charged with helping support terrorists by giving or lending money to perpetrators of a terrorist act, and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Appearing outside court on Wednesday he denied any connections to terrorism and strongly rejected allegations of being involved in the bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in the Indonesian capital on July 17, 2009.

The attacks killed seven people in addition to the two bombers, and injured dozens more.

"I'm not a terrorist and I don't know any terrorists," he told AFP as he arrived at the South Jakarta District Court ahead of his trial before a three-member panel of judges.

"I came to Indonesia to relax, be healthy and to start a computer business. I don't know anything about al-Qaeda."

Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah, suspect in Jakarta twin hotel bombings

"I came to Indonesia to relax, be healthy and to start a computer business. I don't know anything about al-Qaeda. Many of my relatives in Saudi Arabia are police and we fight terrorists."

Ali Abdullah is the fourth alleged conspirator to go on trial this month over the hotel bombings which ended a four-year lull in terrorist attacks in Indonesia.

Police killed nine suspects and arrested more than a dozen in the hotel bombing investigation.

Prosecutors say Ali Abdullah "provided assistance and facilities to the terrorists by way of giving or lending money, things, or other wealth".

A draft of the indictment obtained by AFP said Ali Abdullah, who was arrested shortly after last July's attacks, provided the funding that pushed the plot into an operational phase.

Seven people were killed in the bombings at the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott hotels [EPA]
According to the indictment Noordin Mohammed Top, the suspected ringleader, told one of the suicide bombers to prepare for death after the money arrived from the Middle East.

Noordin was killed by Indonesian police in a raid on a hideout in central Java last September.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ali Abdullah said he had wanted to start an internet business in Indonesia and had no intention of funding terrorism.

He said he had given 54 million rupiah ($5,800) to a man called Iwan Herdiansyah to start an internet cafe and computer retail shop.

Indonesian police are investigating whether funding for the hotel attacks came from al-Qaeda, which has allegedly financed previous attacks linked to Noordin and regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

Al-Qaeda allegedly financed the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, which was Noordin's first major operation, and a 2003 truck bombing of the Jakarta Marriott that killed 12 people.

Source:
Agencies
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