“They have had 18 years to get translators and interpreters for these guys for us,” said James Hodes, Mr Hambali’s lead attorney. “But the system is so flawed.”
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The case is complex and is charged with murder, terrorism, civilian attacks and conspiracy. The indictment cited two bombings in Indonesia in 2002 and 2003 as acts of war by a Qaeda affiliate after the September 11, 2001 attacks. On a Saturday night in Bali in October 2002, suicide bombers found two popular night spots, Paddy’s Pub and the Sari Club, where more more than 200 people died, mostly Australians and Indonesians, as well as seven Americans.
In a sweeping indictment, read in English for approximately 95 minutes on Tuesday by an Air Force prosecutor, Mr. Hambali described ordering recruits for his Jemaah Islamiyah movement to bomb “bars, cafes or nightclubs frequented by ‘westerners’ in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand” in late 2001 and early 2002. It described Mr. Hambali was also so aware of what would happen in Bali that he arranged to rent a hotel room in advance to follow the news on NewsMadura.
The charges did not directly link the Malaysian suspects to the Bali bombing. Instead, they were described as Mr. Hambali’s associates who trained in Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and, at his direction, supervised other US, Israeli and tourist targets in Southeast Asia in 1999 for plots that never happened. They were also accused of helping him escape arrest by obtaining false documents, weapons and shelter.
Mr Bin Lep and Mr Bin Amin are also accused of hiding $50,000 in their Bangkok apartment that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks, sent in 2002 for follow-up attacks. Prosecutors suggested it was used to fund an August 2003 car bomb attack on a Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, which killed 11 people and injured at least 80 others.
By this time, Mr. Bin Amin had been arrested. The other two men would soon be detained and, like him, spend more than three years in secret CIA prisons before President George W. Bush had them transferred to Guantanamo Bay for military custody with Mr. Mohammed and 10 other so-called high-value detainees.