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Jakarta bombing suspect on trial. -

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A new terror suspect has just gone on trial in Indonesia, with prosecutors saying the Saudi
national acted as a bagman to help fund the 2009 hotel bombings in Jakarta.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: A new terror suspect has just gone on trial in Indonesia.

He's a Saudi national who prosecutors say acted as a bagman to help fund the hotel bombings in
Jakarta last year that claimed the lives of seven people, including three Australians.

Ali Abdullah maintains his innocence, but prosecutors hope he will provide proof of the financial
links between ideologues in the Middle East and terror in Indonesia.

Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown reports from Jakarta.

MATT BROWN, INDONESIA CORRESPONDENT: Prosecutors say Ali Abdullah is the crucial link between Saudi
Arabia and the terrorist attack on the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels last year - a bagman who
transferred funds to a local businessman and spent time with the man who recruited the suicide

But Ali Abdulla told the ABC he's a simple retired teacher who came to Indonesia to recover from an

ALI ABDULLAH, TERRORISM SUSPECT: I think, (unclear) anybody, he make bomb and uh... any place, this
bad man. (clears throat) This no good.

MATT BROWN: Ali Abdullah admits he spent months with the terrorist recruiter, who just returned
from Saudi Arabia on an alleged fundraising mission. And his claim of innocence rests on a
remarkable coincidence: a chance meeting between the two at the airport in Jakarta.

ALI ABDULLAH: Because I meet him, Yani, in airport. He tell me, he ask me "You like - you need

I tell him, "If you're, uh, you speak Arabic very good, I..." only. I stay with him only two

MATT BROWN: Terrorism analyst Noor Huda Ismail went to school with one of the men behind the Bali
bombings and he's hoping this trial, and the money trail it could expose, will throw fresh light on
Jemaah Islamiyah.

NOOR HUDA ISMAIL, TERRORISM ANALYST: This trial is extremely important for us to know where the
money coming from, whether this is from regular Middle Eastern guy or this is Middle Eastern guy
who has this direct connection with an Al Qaeda.

MATT BROWN: But there is a long-standing problem closer to home. When the bombing mastermind,
Noordin Mohammed Top, was killed in a raid in central Java last year, another less well-known
Jemaah Islamiyah member was also killed - a man who'd recently told Noor Huda Ismail how spending
time in an Indonesian jail had made him even more hardline.

NOOR HUDA ISMAIL: He said to me that jail has transformed his ideology from merely JI into broader
ideology which is Al Qaeda.

MATT BROWN: These trials might provide new insights, perhaps some justice, but not a lasting

Over the last decade, a steady stream of terrorists and their supporters have passed through these
cells, clear evidence of Indonesia's commitment to fighting terrorism. But the ideology that
inspires them and the funds that enable them have proved much more difficult to contain.