Pentagon approves trial of 3 men for Indonesia bombings

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Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense on Thursday announced it is moving ahead with plans to try three men held for years at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, accused of being behind two deadly bombings in Indonesia in the early 2000s.

In a statement, the Department of Defense said charges against Encep Nurjaman, Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin have been referred to a military commission, clearing the way for the men to be tried in connection to the bombings of Bali nightclubs in 2002 and of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

Prosecutors have charged the men with conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, destruction of property and accessory after the fact, all in violation of the law of war, for planning and assisting with the two bombings.

The Department of Defense identified Nurjaman, who is also known as Hambali, as having been a leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian affiliate of al-Qaida.

"The charges are only allegations that the accused committed offenses punishable under the Military Commission Act, and the accused are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," the Pentagon said. "The case is non-capital and arraignment is pending."

According to the charging statement, a group organized by Nurjaman attacked two night clubs and the U.S. Consulate in Bali on Oct. 12, 2002.

The document says a suicide bomber walked into Paddy's Irish Bar and detonated the bomb strapped to their chest, while a second suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden van to a location near the Sari Club where it was detonated, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians seven Americans.

Nurjaman is also accused in the document of organizing the Aug. 5, 2003, attack on the Jakarta J.W. Marriott when a truck bomb drove into the entrance of the hotel and detonated, killing 11 civilians and wounding 81 others.

Bin Lep, also known as Lillie, and Bin Amin, called Zubair, are accused of supporting and aiding in the execution of the two attacks, the document states.

Nurjaman was first charged in 2017 but those charges had not been approved until now.

The three men were arrested in Thailand in 2003 and handed over to U.S. authorities. They have been held at Guantanamo since 2006.

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