Jakarta: Trial of Saudi Accused of Financing Terrorist Group Set to Resume
By Khalid al-Awijan
Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat - The trial of a Saudi national accused of providing
financial support to a terrorist group that carried out twin suicide bomb
attacks on luxury hotels in Jakarta last year, resulting in a death toll of
seven, is set to resume in the Indonesian capital.
Asharq Al-Awsat learnt that Saudi national Ali Abdullah al-Khelaiw, aged 54, is
facing criminal charges due to his relationship with one of the terrorists
involved in the suicide attack on Jakarta last year, and that the Indonesian
authorities believe he is responsible for financing this attack.
South Jakarta district court prosecutor Iwan Setiawan called for al-Khelaiw to
be imprisoned for a period of no less than 9 years, saying that the Saudi
defendant had "assisted in providing funds to terrorists and misused
immigration documents." Al-Khelaiw denies the charges laid against him, saying
that he travelled to Indonesia in order to set up a computer business, and that
the money in question was lent by him to an Indonesian business partner for the
purpose of setting up an internet café in Jakarta.
Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Abdulrahman al-Khayat spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat
via telephone, revealing that the Saudi embassy in Jakarta had provided
al-Khelaiw with legal representation, and that an appeal against the charges
laid against him is set to be made citing lack of evidence.
Al-Khayat also expressed his hopes that this issue would be resolved before
al-Khelaiw's trail is over, and before the Indonesian authorities can sentence
him to a prison sentence.
Al-Khelaiw has been charged with providing " assistance and facilities to the
terrorists by way of giving or lending money, things, or other wealth " to a
terrorist group led by Noordin Mohammed Top who was killed by Indonesian police
in a raid on a terrorist hideout in central Java September 2009, two months
after the 17 July 2009 Jakarta bombings.
Al-Khelaiw denies having any knowledge of the attacks that were carried out on
the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta, although the prosecution
claims that he provided 54 million rupiah (equivalent to $5,994) to a person
named Iwan Herdiansyah, a friend of Syaifuddin Jaelani, who took part in the
Jakarta bombings and was killed by Indonesian police on the day of the attacks.
Al-Khelaiw admits to meeting Jaelani, although he said that he did not provide
him with any money, or have any prior knowledge about the terrorist plot.
The Indonesia security forces say that Ali al-Khelaiw's failure to comply with
the Indonesian laws of residence, as well as his disregard of the laws
surrounding investment in Indonesia, as being weak points in the Saudi
Asharq Al-Awsat also learnt that a meeting took place last week between the
Indonesian Justice Minister and the Saudi ambassador to Jakarta, and that the
Saudi ambassador failed to secure any promises that the charges against
al-Khelaiw would be dropped.
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