School Principal on Trial on Terror Charges

JAKARTA

The head of an Islamic school that was suspected of being a bomb factory went on trial on terrorism charges on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Bambang Suhardi told the Tangerang District Court outside Jakarta that Abrory M. Ali was charged with possessing explosives and inciting terrorism – offences that carry the death penalty.

Abrory was the principal of the Umar bin Khatab boarding school in West Nusa Tenggara province where an apparently accidental explosion in July killed a school employee, Suhardi said.

The explosion followed an earlier fatal knife attack in June on a policeman by one of his students, he added.

“A raid at the school after the explosion uncovered 27 homemade bombs which were believed to be targeted at police,” Suhardi said.

Police and troops last year raided the school after a three-day stand-off with radical students and teachers armed with swords, machetes and sticks.

“He (Abrory) had planned to recruit five students every month to become bombers,” Suhardi added.

Besides Abrory, six others – all students – went on trial for “activities which create an atmosphere of terror,” a charge which also carries the death penalty.

One of them, Syakban A. Rahman, was charged with killing a police officer with a sword.

Police said last year the school was linked to radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is serving a nine-year jail for funding a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Westerners and political leaders.

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