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US freezes Jemaah Islamiah members' funds

Written by: Staff

WASHINGTON, Apr 13: The United States has frozen the funds of jailed Jemaah Islamiah leader Abu Bakar Bashir and three other members of the al Qaeda-linked militant network, the Treasury department said today.

The department, acting on a presidential order, officially froze the assets of the four Indonesian men and prohibited Americans from conducting any transactions with them.

A Treasury statement said the government would also join other countries, including Australia, in seeking to have the men's names added to a United Nations list of terrorists tied to al Qaeda, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Jemaah Islamiah (JI), an Indonesia-based militant group seen as the southeast Asian arm of al Qaeda, is blamed for a series of bombings in the region in recent years including the October. 12, 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 people.

''Members of JI have been trained, funded and directed by al Qaeda to pursue a like-minded terrorist agenda,'' Pat O'Brien, assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crime, said in a statement.

The order freezes any bank accounts or assets the four men have in the United States. The Treasury did not give details of any funds held by the men.

The Department of State designated Jemaah Islamiah a foreign terrorist organization after the Bali bombings.

Bashir, 67, an Islamic cleric who was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role as Jemaah Islamiah's spiritual leader, is due to be released from prison in June.

Also cited in the Treasury department's action were: - Gun Gun Rusman Gunawan, 28, the jailed younger brother of the network's former operational chief, Hambali, and founder of a Jemaah Islamiah group in Pakistan.

- Taufik Rifki, 31, the network's suspected former finance officer in the Philippines, where he is now in detention.

- Abdullah Anshori, who headed the branch of Jemaah Islamiah known as Mantiq II. The Treasury statement described Anshori as one of the most senior Jemaah Islamiah leaders still at large.


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