Terrorist suspect denied bail

National 2 minutes, 26 seconds


THE Indonesian man arrested for carrying explosives on board a plane was denied bail at the Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

During the court proceedings, Senior Magistrate Hj Nabil Daraina PDH Badaruddin ordered 63-year-old Rustawi Tomo Kabul to be further remanded at Jerudong Prison as the defendant might breach his bail conditions.

Rustawi is charged with unlicensed firearms possession after security personnel at Brunei International Airport found bullets and ammunition in his bag.

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

Rustawi’s defence counsel, Hj Mohammad Rozaiman, applied for bail on grounds that the Indonesian Embassy here was willing to act as surety, to provide house and shelter for the defendant as well as ensure he attends court proceedings.

He said the defendant denied any information or knowledge of the incriminating evidence allegedly found in his bag. The luggage was never locked throughout the journey, argued Hj Mohammad Rozaiman.

He further cited The Jakarta Post’s article which stated that it was Rustawi’s son who planted the explosives to exact revenge on the defendant for not giving him money.

A previous report said the defendant was also being probed for possible links to terrorism after a flag resembling the banner of the Islamic State (IS) terror group was also found among his belongings.

Hj Mohd Rozaiman told the court that Rustawi is a businessman in Indonesia, who earns his income from his five hectare of land that produces sugar cane.

On the issue of the risk of absconding while on bail, the defence counsel said the defendant’s passport would be handed over to the authorities and that the defendant will not interfere with witnesses in the case while on bail.

Hj Mohd Rozaiman also raised concerns over Rustawi’s health as he was recently admitted to Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital for diabetes, gastric and high blood pressure.

“He’s has been here a month and he wishes to clear his name so that he can travel to perform his Umrah as his normal route is through RB and transit through Brunei to Jeddah,” said the defence counsel.

Objecting Rustawi’s release on bail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Pg Norsuzanawati Pg Hj Abas told the court that despite the embassy’s undertaking, there was no assurance the defendant will not break bail conditions.

She went on to state the seriousness of the case as the penalty carries up to 15 years in jail and whipping upon conviction.

Pg Norsuzanawati further said the court should not rely on the news article, assuring that police are working closely with their Indonesian counterparts, and that “investigation is being carried out at all angles.”

The Magistrates’ Court urged the prosecution to expedite the investigations and scheduled a further mention of the case to be heard on June 8.

The Brunei Times