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National

18 men wrongly accused of taking part in Abu Sayyaf kidnapping released from prison

Reuters file photo of Abu Sayyaf men

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Justice has ordered the release of 18 suspected Abu Sayyaf Group members accused in the kidnapping of six Jehovah's Witnesses in Patikul, Sulu on Aug. 20, 2002.

In a 12-page resolution of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force which was approved by Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano, 13 of the suspected ASG members were ordered release because they are different from the persons identified in the charge sheet.

On the other hand, five other suspects were ordered released for lack of probable cause.

Those ordered released due to mistaken identity are former Commissioner of the Department of Education Ustadz Ahmadsali A. Badron, who is also member of the Reconciliation and Unification of the ARMM; Hajer Arasani; Jammal Sawaban; Robin Sahiyal; Alton Ladhalaam; Edwin Siarot Sawaldi; Mohammad Said Sali; Adzhar Nawali; Abdullan Hussih; George Nami; Abdullah Ussih; Jeheri Jeron and Manny Ismael.

"There appears to be no proof of their participation in the kidnapping much less evidence of their purported membership in the Abu Sayyaf Group. Said accused were not positively identified by prosecution witnesses Amily Mantec and Roland Ulla," the DOJ resolution said.

Those ordered released for lack of probable cause are Jumlie Orie; Jul Ahmad Ahadi; Arabi Sali; Sonny Boy Barakim and Abdulwahab Hamja.

"In every criminal prosecution, the prosecution must prove two things: 1) the commission of the crime and 2) the identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. Cursory identification does not suffice to convict the accused. What is needed is positive identification made with moral certainty as to the person of the offender," the DOJ resolution said.

The six Jehovah's Witnesses were abducted in 2002 by the group of Radulan Sahiron.

The kidnapping-for-ransom case is now pending before the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266.

The DOJ moved for the reinvestigation of the case following the claims of some of the accused that they were arbitrarily arrested. 

 

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