Fri, Oct 20, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Red Cross passed on message from detained suspect


The Red Cross said yesterday it had passed a message from an alleged Southeast Asian terror chief held at Guantanamo Bay to his family in Indonesia.

It was the first time the detainee, named Hambali, has been allowed to contact his family since his arrest in Thailand in 2003, said Marcal Izard, a local spokesman for the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.

A Red Cross team passed the message to his family on Java on Wednesday, he said.

"He was able to give his greetings to them," Izard said. "At least the family knows he is there [in Guantanamo] and can now write a message to him."

Hambali, also known as Riduan Isamuddin, was allegedly the key link between al-Qaeda and the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. The group is blamed for a string of bombings in Indonesia.

He is one of 14 terrorist suspects recently transferred to US military custody at the naval base in Cuba after being held by the CIA at a secret location.

Hambali dictated the message to Red Cross officials who wrote it down, Izard said.

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