18 December 2003
GOETTINGEN – German prosecutors said Thursday they would drop criminal proceedings against an Abu Sayyaf leader if he is prosecuted in the Philippines for kidnapping German tourists.
A spokesman for the prosecutors office in Goettingen, which has been handling the case, said they would no longer be seeking the extradition of Ghalib Andang, alias Commander Robot, if he was put on trial in the Philippines.
It follows a statement by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who said the captured Abu Sayyaf leader would be tried in the Philippines and any talk of his extradition was “premature”.
“Commander Robot may be facing charges in Germany, but he will face the music in the Philippines first,” she said.
“He will have to be prosecuted and tried by a Philippine court for the crimes he committed against our people.”
German prosecutors wanted to question Commander Robot in connection with the kidnapping in April 2000 of three German nationals.
The three Germans – the Wallert family – were among 21 people, mostly European tourists, abducted by the Abu Sayyaf from the Malaysian resort island of Sipadan and held for months on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.
The hostages were released after millions of dollars in ransom were paid to Abu Sayyaf.
Subject: German news