US not deporting Hambali home, says Indonesian minister

Terrorist inmate Hambali (above) was transferred to Guantanamo about 10 years ago, after he was captured in Bangkok in 2003.
Terrorist inmate Hambali (above) was transferred to Guantanamo about 10 years ago, after he was captured in Bangkok in 2003.

JAKARTA • The United States will not deport terrorist inmate Hambali to Indonesia, even if the Guantanamo Bay detention centre is shut down, said Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan yesterday.

"They will not deport Hambali to Indonesia. Praise to God. Don't add more problems to this country," he told reporters yesterday, as quoted by Kompas.com news site.

Senior government officials had said, earlier this week, that Indonesia is reluctant to accept the repatriation of Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, over fears that his return could spark a revival among domestic terror cells.

US President Barack Obama said, last month, he plans to shut down the Guantanamo facility in Cuba.

Hambali was transferred to Guantanamo about 10 years ago, after he was captured in Bangkok in 2003.

Mr Luhut said that Hambali did not hold an Indonesian passport when he was arrested by American forces. "When he was arrested, he was holding a Spanish passport," he said.

According to the minister, he had received information from a trusted source that the terrorist responsible for the 2002 Bali bombing is still being detained at the United States federal prison with other terrorists, Kompas reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'US not deporting Hambali home, says Indonesian minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe