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Jakarta Hotel Bomb Suspect Goes on Trial

November 12, 2003

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ The first suspect charged in the Aug. 5 bombing of the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta went on trial Wednesday, facing the death penalty for allegedly storing explosive materials used in the attack.

Sardona Siliwangi was charged with violating recently passed anti-terror laws, said state prosecutor Sudihardjo. The trial was in Bengkulu on Sumatra island, where he was arrested two months before the Marriott blast, which killed 12 people and wounded 150.

``He was entrusted to store explosive materials which were later used in the Marriott Hotel bombing, but he did not report them to security authorities,″ Sudihardjo, who goes by a single name, said by telephone from Bengkulu.

Siliwangi faces a maximum death penalty, he said.

Siliwangi was arrested in Bengkulu, about 300 miles northwest of Jakarta, along with five other suspected militants over a bank robbery.

Police later accused him of storing explosive materials that were used in the Marriott bombing, which was blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked militant group that wants to set up an Islamic state across Southeast Asia. The group has also been implicated in last year’s Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Siliwangi was not required to make a plea in Wednesday’s hearing. Prosecutors read out his indictment before the trial was adjourned until Saturday.

Siliwangi is one of 14 suspects arrested over the car bombing.

Two key suspects _ Malaysians Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohammed Top _ are both on the run.

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