PG presses terrorism charges against alleged Sultan Park bomber

The Prosecutor General (PG)’s office has pressed terrorism charges against Abdul Latheef Ibrahim, of Love Side house on the island of Gan in Laamu Atoll, for his alleged involvement in detonating a home-made IED (improvised explosive device) outside Sultan Park in September 2007.

Local media reported the first hearing of the case today, during which Abdul Latheef told the court that he wished to know the evidence against him, and requested time to appoint a lawyer.

The judge told Abdul Latheef that the state would produce evidence after he appointed a lawyer, and concluded the hearing.

On August 8, 2012, Abdul Latheef was arrested upon his arrival to the Maldives on a flight from Pakistan. He was one of 16 men against whom terrorism charges had been filed in relation to the bombing. Ten of these men fled the country, while three were sentenced to an initial 15 years before having their sentences commuted to three year suspended sentences.

The bomb blast in Sultan Park – a tourist attraction in the capital located in front of the Islamic Centre – consisted of a washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder, and was triggered using a mobile phone.

The attack injured 12 tourists, including eight from China, two from Britain and two from Japan. The incident received widespread publicity around the world, damaging the country’s image as a luxury tourism destination.

The attack meanwhile prompted the authorities to declare a state of emergency and arrest 12 suspects within 48 hours.

Three men – Mohamed Sobah, 19, Moosa Inaz, 21, and Ahmed Naseer, 20 – were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in December 2007 after they confessed to the crime.

In August 2010, the former administration commuted the sentences of Ahmed Naseer and Mohamed Sobah from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under observation.

The bomb blast was the first bombing incident in the country.

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Ten killed in Delhi briefcase bombing

An improvised explosive device (IED) killed at least 10 people and injured approximately 65 this morning at the high court in Delhi, India. UK’s The Guardian reports that the bomb was hidden in the briefcase which had been placed near the court’s reception center where people queue for visitors’ passes.

The bomb exploded at 10:14 am, a peak traffic time. The Guardian calls it the largest attack in India’s capital since a series of bombs went off in markets three years ago, killing 25 people.

India’s home secretary, RK Singh, said the attack “has all the signs of an IED explosion set off by a terror group,” The Guardian reports.

Reuters has reported that a militant terrorist group called Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, or HuJI, had taken responsibility for the attack.

Delhi’s high court was targeted earlier this year, when a minor blast on 25 May took place at approximately the same location. No casualties were reported.

US-based The New York Times reports that Indian intelligence agencies had been criticized lately for slackening security measures. The report stated authorities had received information about a possible terror threat to Delhi in July, which they turned over to local police.

Reports indicate that this and previous attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, India’s two most important cities, did not involve electronic communication- – common aspect of many terror plots. Officials consider this a “troubling pattern.”

Wednesdays are known busy days at the the Delhi court, which hears public interest litigations on that day. The court is also located within a mile of parliament. The Guardian notes that at one point the two buildings were temporarily connected to allow home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram to deliver statements on the latest atrocity.

One MP allegedly called today’s bombing “an attack on the nation.”

In December 2001, the Indian parliament was targeted by a suicide bomber belonging to Islamist terror groups Jaish-E-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, based in Pakistan.

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