The war court prosecutor has filed terror charges against an Indonesian captive at Guantánamo known as Hambali, accusing him of directing the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and the 2003 attack on the JW Marriott in Jakarta that between them killed more than 200 people, the Miami Herald has learned.
When or whether Riduan “Hambali” Isomuddin, 53, will actually appear at the war court is not yet known. Now that the prosecution has sworn out charges, a senior Pentagon official, Convening Authority Harvey Rishikof, will decide whether to go forward and whether to authorize a death-penalty case.
The Indonesian becomes the first Guantánamo prisoner charged during the administration of President Donald Trump. If Rishikof approves it, Hambali would be the 11th of Guantánamo’s 41 captives in war crimes proceedings.
Hambali’s charge sheet dated June 20 and obtained by the Herald on Friday, alleges he directed three simultaneous bombings on Oct. 12, 2002 — in a pub, near a dance club and the U.S. Consulate — that killed 202 people in the lush, Indonesian island tourist destination of Bali that is popular with Western tourists. Australia suffered the largest number of casualties, 88 dead, followed by Indonesia with 38. The charge sheets name all the victims, including seven Americans who were killed and are the likely basis for prosecuting the case at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba.
According to the charges, the death toll in Bali “surprised” Hambali because “he did not expect so many people to die.”
Then, in 2003, the war court prosecutor alleges, Hambali had deputies pick up $50,000 from al-Qaida sent by a courier from Pakistan meant to fund a terrorist operation. The courier was Majid Khan, who pleaded guilty to the crime in 2012 and awaits sentencing after he testifies for the government, apparently against Hambali, if the charges are approved.
In pleading guilty, Khan agreed that the money could have been used to fund the Aug. 5, 2003, attack on the JW Marriott in Jakarta that killed 10 Indonesians, a Dutch citizen and wounded three Americans.
Hambali’s charges include terrorism, murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, attacking civilians and civilian objects and destruction of property, in violation of the law of war.
Hambali has been held at Guantánamo since September 2006, when then President George W. Bush ordered the CIA to deliver its high-value War on Terror prisoners from its secret “Black Site” detention to the U.S. military base for trial. It is not known why it took more than a decade for the Pentagon prosecutor to prepare charges. But, during three and a half years in CIA custody, according to the so-called Senate Torture Report, an interrogator told Hambali “that he would never go to court, because ‘we can never let the world know what I have done to you.’ ”
It is not known what was done to him but, the portion of the Senate report that has been released to the public says, he was not waterboarded. Other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA, according to the report, included long stretches of being shackled in painful positions, being slapped or slammed into a wall, being kept nude or in diapers, confined in a coffin-like box and subject to rectal rehydration, sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation.
Even before he was charged, U.S. intelligence dubbed him “an operational mastermind in the Southeast Asia-based Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah” and the main link between that group and al-Qaida from 2000 until his capture in Thailand on Aug. 13, 2003, in a joint U.S.-Thai operation.
The charge sheet does not spell out whether the chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, is seeking the death penalty. Martins declined to comment through the Pentagon’s war court spokesman, Air Force Maj. Ben Sakrisson. Sakrisson, in turn, was unable to explain why the Pentagon did not release the charge sheet or post it on its public website docket whose motto is “Fairness * Transparency * Justice.”
The chief defense counsel, Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, said Friday he would assign staff as though it were a capital case, unless told otherwise. Currently, Hambali has just two war court defense attorneys, Navy Lt. Cmdr Greg Young and Air Force Maj. Scott Medlyn. But both are also on the defense team of another war court defendant, Ahmed al Darbi, a Saudi who has pleaded guilty to war crimes and is scheduled to be sentenced this summer.
A document obtained by the Herald indicated that Hambali was presented with copies of the charges Wednesday, a day after he met with his civilian attorney, federal public defender Carlos Warner of Ohio. Warner declined to comment.
The charge sheet casts Hambali as a leader of Jemaah Islamiyah who began sending followers to al-Qaida in Afghanistan in the late 1990s for training, specifically in bombing. Two alleged acolytes identified in the charge sheets are Malaysians known as Lillie and Zubair, both of whom were captured around the same time as Hambali and are currently held as uncharged, forever prisoners at Guantánamo.
The charges also alleged that Hambali dispatched Lillie, Zubair and two other Malaysians to meet Osama bin Laden in Kabul, Afghanistan, after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. He had chosen them as would-be suicide bombers in a post- 9/11 attack in the United States, perhaps in California, the charges say.
Hambali is portrayed in the charge sheet as an active participant in would-be attacks. One instance alleges he personally carried out surveillance on possible terror attack targets in Manila in December 2000 that included the U.S. and Israeli embassies.
The Senate report on the CIA program noted that, after his capture in 2003, Hambali “was cooperative” with his CIA interrogators who nonetheless subjected him to the “enhanced interrogation techniques” a month into his custody. In response, according to the report, he provided or confirmed information, thinking that’s what his interrogators wanted to hear — material that subsequent CIA analysis concluded was not true.
The swearing of charges against Hambali occurred as Rishikof and his staff were holding a three-day workshop at Guantánamo to plan for the future of Camp Justice, where the Pentagon has just one functioning courtroom. Even before Hambali was charged, the chief judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, has questioned whether the remote base has sufficient facilities to accommodate a crammed 2018 schedule of war court hearings that include 39 days of two simultaneous national-security hearings.
Killed in the 2002 Bali bombing
United States (7): Karri Jane Casner, Megan Eileen Heffernan, George Hamilton Milligan, Robert Alan McCormick II, Deborah Lea Snodgrass, Steven Brooks Webster, Jacob Cardwell Young.
Australia (88): Gayle Airlie, Belinda Allen, Renae Anderson, Peter Basioli, Christina Betmilik, Matthew Bolwerk, Abbey Borgia, Debbie Borgia, Gerardine Buchan, Steve Buchan, Chloe Byron, Anthony Cachia, Rebecca Cartledge, Bronwyn Cartwright, Jodie Cearns, Jane Corteen, Jenny Corteen, Paul Cronin, Donna Croxford, Kristen Curnow,
Francoise Dahan, Sylvia Dalais, Joshua Deegan, Andrew Dobson, Michelle Dunlop, Craig Dunn, Shane Foley, Dean Gallagher, Angela Golotta, Angela Gray, Byron Hancock, Simone Hanley, James Hardman, Billy Hardy, Nicole Harrison, Tim Hawkins,
Andrea Hore, Adam Howard, Paul Hussey, Josh Iliffe, Carol Johnstone, David Kent,
Dimmy Kotronakis, Elizabeth Kotronakis, Aaron Lee, Justin Lee, Stacey Lee, Danny Lewis, Scott Lysaght, Linda Makawana, Sue Maloney, Robert Marshall, David Mavroudis, Lynette McKeon, Marissa McKeon, Jenny Murphy, Amber O'Donnell,
Jessica O'Donnell, Sue Ogier, Jodie O'Shea, Corey Paltridge, Charles van Renen, Brad Ridley, Ben Roberts, Bronwyn Ross, David Ross, Kathy Salvatori, Greg Sanderson, Cathy Seelin, Lee Sexton, Tom Singer, Anthony Stewart, Julie Stevenson, Jason Stokes,
Behic Sumer, Nathan Swaine, Tracy Thomas, Clint Thompson, Robert Thwaites, Jonathan Wade, Vanessa Walder, Jodie Wallace, Shane Walsh-Till, Robyn Webster, Marlene Whiteley, Charmaine Whitton, Gerard Yeo, Luiza Zervos.
Indonesia (38): I Wayan Yustara, R Destria Bimo Adhi Wibowo, Ni Kadek Alit Margarini, Gusti Ayu Made Artini, Arsoyo Rahmat, I Made Wija, I Ketut Nana Wijaya,
I Nyoman Mawa, Elly Susanti Suharto, I Wayan Sukadana, I Ketut Cindra, Ati Savitri,
I Ketut Sumarawat, I Gede Badrawan, Hanny, I Made Wijaya, I Komang Candra, Tata Duka, Lilis Puspita, Jonathan Simanjuntak, I Made Mertana, I Made Sujana, Salwindar Singh, Juniardi, I Kadek Ngartina, I Wayan Tamba, Rudy Armansyah, Mochamad Khotib, Imawan Sardjono, Endang, Mugianto, Widayati, Faturrahman, Achmad Suharto,
Arismanandar, Agus Suheri, Kadek Sukerna, I Kadek Beni Prima.
United Kingdom (23): Timothy John Arnold, Neil Bowler, Daniel Braden, Christopher Bradford, Jonathon Ellwood, Lucy S.O. Empson, Ian Findley, Emma Louise Fox, Laura France, Marc Gajardo, Tom Holmes, Paul Martin Hussey, Christopher John Kays, Annika Kerstin Linden, Dan (Nathaniel) Miller, Natalie Perkins, Peter Record, Christian Redman, Stevie Speirs, Michael Standring, Ed Waller, Clive John Walton, Douglas Warner.
Germany (6): Marie Cecile Wendt, Angelika Helene Kohnke, Caludia Dietlinde Thiele, Bettina Christina Brandes, Alexandra Koppke, Udo Paul Hauke.
Sweden (5): Linda Cronqvist, Ulrika Gustafsson, Maria Johansson, Johanna Bergander, Carina Rafling.
France (4): Guillaume Breant, Lionel Erisey, Manuel Mordelet, Anthony Underwood.
Netherlands (4): Norbet Edgar Freriks, Sander Harskamp, Mark Antonio Schippers, Marjanne Van Lijen Noomen.
Denmark (3): Lise Tanghus Knudsen, Laerke Cecile Bodker, Anette Overgaard Jensen.
New Zealand (3): Jared Gane, Mark Parker, Jamie Wellington.
Switzerland (3): Serina Leish, Michale Pascal Dolf, Andrea Gian Rupp.
Brazil (2): Alexandre Moraes Watake, Sargento Marco Antonio Farias.
Canada (2): Richard Gleason, Mervin Popadynec.
Japan (2): Kosuke Suzuki, Yuka Suzuki.
South Africa (2): Godfrey Fitz, Craig Russel Harty.
South Korea (2): Moon Eun-Young, Moon Eun-Jung.
Unknown nationality (2): No identities.
Ecuador (1): Ana Cecilia Aviles.
Greece (1): Dimitris N Panagoulas.
Italy (1): Antonio Roberto Sbironi.
Poland (1): Daneta Beata Pawlak.
Portugal (1): Diogo Miguel dantas Riberinho.
Taiwan (1): Miss Hui-Min Kuo
Killed in the 2003 JW Marriott bombing in Jakarta
Indonesia (10): Slamat Hariyanto, Eyoh Zakaria, Hidayat, Harna, Yohanes Bolan,
Rudi Dwi Laksono, Miftah Tobiin, Syamsudin, Edi Haryanto, Edi Sucipto.
Netherlands (1): Hans Wimkelmolen.
Source: Department of Defense