Suspected JI man's wife denies charge-A A +A
Saturday, January 12, 2013
DAVAO CITY - The wife of a Malaysian national, believed to be a member of international terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, denied Friday charges filed against her before the Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Annabelle Nieva Lee, who hails from Sorsogon province, pleaded not guilty during her arraignment in the case filed against her for violation of Presidential Decree 1866, as amended by Republic Act 9516, or The Illegal Possession of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives.
The accused was accompanied by her legal counsel, lawyer Ben Joseph Tesiorna.
Lee was arrested on December 14, 2012 after his husband, Mohd Noor Fikrie Bin Abd Kahar, was shot dead by authorities along Camus St. in this city.
The arraignment was held around 8:30 a.m. Friday before RTC Branch 14 Judge George E. Omelio.
Personnel of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) and members of Special Weapons and Tactic (Swat) team were deployed to the Hall of Justice to secure the area.
Before the arraignment proceedings started, Omelio requested the accused, through her counsel, to take off the veil (Hijab) that revealed only her eyes to confirm that she is really the accused.
But Lee refused to do so, unless photojournalists and TV cameramen turned off their cameras. Omelio denied the request of the accused.
It was Prosecutor Faizal Padate who told Omelio that the accused is "not allowed to show her hair, ears and even her neck."
"Of course, we respect that (she is not allowed to show her hair, ears, and neck). But how will the people know if she is really the accused, if we cannot see her face? We need to see her face," Omelio ruled.
The court scheduled the pre-trial of the accused on February 14, 2013.
Omelio also granted Friday the petition to transfer the accused to the custody of the Naval Intelligence and Security Group (NISG) from the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).
Major Bill Pasia, NISG commander, earlier requested DCPO Director Ronald dela Rosa to transfer Lee to their custody for security reasons.
When asked for comments, Tesiorna said his client believed she had not committed any crime.
"Ingon ana na among posisyon wala'y sala ang akusado, dili pwede an muamin siya sa sala na wala niya gihimo. Dili ko musugot atong evidence sa prosecution, kay butang nato granted without admitting na member sa terrorist group iyang bana pero akong kliyente isip asawa, buot pasabot terrorista na pud siya? Dili na ana (That's our position, that the accused is innocent. Granting her husband was a terrorist, this doesn’t automatically mean that she is also a terrorist)," Tesiorna said.
Tesiorna said they will file a petition for bail, as the evidence is not strong enough to charge the accused.
But dela Rosa, on the other hand, said the illegal possession of explosives filed against the accused is non-bailable.
"Based on the operation that we had conducted here, we believe that the evidence we presented before the prosecution is enough to charge the accused though it will be up to the court whether to grant their request for bail," dela Rosa said.
The City Prosecutor's Office found probable cause to charge Lee based on the evidence presented by the authorities.
Recovered from the possession of the accused was the improvised explosive device made from 60mm mortar. Authorities also recovered mobile phones and other "explosive materials" from the accused.
The accused was transferred Friday to Naval Forces NISG detention facility for security purposes. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 12, 2013.