Rustawi to be in custody for another two weeks for further probe

National 1 minute, 26 seconds


AN INDONESIAN man accused of carrying explosives on board a Royal Brunei airlines flight will be held in custody for another two weeks to assist in police investigations.

Rustawi Tomo Kabul, 63, is charged with unlicensed firearms possession after security personnel at Brunei International Airport discovered several “suspicious items” in his luggage on May 2, including bullets and ammunition.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Pg Norsuzanawati Pg Hj Abas told the court yesterday that the items will have to be sent to Singapore for forensic testing.

The defendant is also being probed for possible links to terrorism, according to the Indonesian foreign ministry, after a flag resembling the banner of the Islamic State (IS) terror group was also found among his belongings.

Rustawi boarded a Royal Brunei Airlines flight from Surabaya on May 2 and had planned to travel to Saudi Arabia as part of an Umrah-bound group.

A routine x-ray scan of his luggage during transit at Brunei airport uncovered the ammunition and he was detained for questioning, along with two other people.

However, only Rustawi was arrested and subsequently charged, while the other two individuals were allowed to travel on to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Indonesian embassy has said it will retain legal counsel for the defendant as part of the government’s commitment to protect the welfare of its citizens.

However, both the embassy and Indonesian foreign ministry have declined to comment on the suspect’s potential links to terror networks or the explosives found in his luggage.

Rustawi is facing a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison with whipping if convicted of firearms possession. So far, no plea has been taken from the defendant. He is scheduled to appear in court again on May 25.

The Brunei Times