A Plan to Kill President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

An Indonesian suspect went on trial on Wednesday charged in connection with bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta and a plan to assassinate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Amir Abdillah, 34, is the first to appear of a group of defendants believed to have taken orders from Noordin Mohammad Top, the head of a violent wing of militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah, which police said was behind the attacks.

State prosecutor Totok Bambang told South Jakarta Court Abdillah helped other group members to launch suicide bomb attacks at the Ritz Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels in July 2009, in which 11 people were killed, including the suicide bombers, and 53 wounded. “The defendant was involved and was aware of the plan and the implementation of the terror acts... The defendant also knew there would be another bombing targeting President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono,” another prosecutor, Kiki Ahmad Yani, told the court.

Prosecutors said Abdillah was nearby on the morning of the hotel attacks, and, according to his statements to police, said “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great”, before and after the bombs exploded. Abdillah had told police that Top, who was killed by police in a raid in September, had ordered the attacks on the hotels, and had planned to assassinate the president using a car bomb shortly afterwards. Under Indonesian law, the maximum penalty for abetting acts of terrorism is death.

Jemaah Islamiah, which is believed to want to create an Islamic state linking Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, has in the past been linked to al Qaeda. It was blamed for a string of attacks that killed hundreds of civilians, including the bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003. Although many of the leaders of Top’s ring have been killed in police raids, the special anti-terror detachment police say Indonesia still faces a considerable threat.