Philip­pine doc­tor in New York plot charged in kid­nap-mur­der case

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Manila, Philip­pines - A Philip­pine doc­tor ac­cused of wiring money for a foiled New York ex­trem­ist plot has been charged in a sep­a­rate Is­lamic State (IS)-in­spired kid­nap­ping and mur­der case at home, doc­u­ments re­leased on Tues­day said.

Rus­sel Salic, an or­thopaedic sur­geon, has been held in cus­tody in the Philip­pines af­ter US prose­cu­tors charged him over a failed plot to at­tack New York’s sub­way, Times Square and con­cert venues in the name of IS dur­ing the Ra­madan in 2016.

US prose­cu­tors are seek­ing his ex­tra­di­tion. Now Salic and 53 other sus­pected Filipino ex­trem­ists have been charged with kid­nap­ping six lum­ber yard work­ers in the south­ern is­land of Min­danao - killing two of them - to de­mon- strate their loy­alty to the IS move­ment in the Mid­dle East.

The hostages said that in 2016, armed men in the south­ern is­land of Min­danao, ab­ducted and tor­tured them, ac­cus­ing them of be­ing spies for the mil­i­tary, the Jus­tice Depart­ment doc­u­ments said.

The hostages were made to wear or­ange clothes and pho­tographed. They were told that the pic­tures would be loaded onto the In­ter­net to show the armed band’s loy­alty to IS.

Two of the hostages were later be­headed but the rest were freed af­ter their em­ployer ne­go­ti­ated with the kid­nap­pers.

The work­ers said that among their cap­tors was a man who they were told was a doc­tor but who was only seen guard­ing and clean- ing guns. This man was later iden­ti­fied as Salic, the depart­ment said.

Salic has in­sisted he was in­no­cent and said he could prove he was at­tend­ing a med­i­cal con­ven­tion else­where dur­ing the in­ci­dent, the depart­ment records showed.

How­ever he was still in­cluded in the list of 54 ac­cused in the kid­nap­ping and mur­der case which has been blamed on the Maute group, a lo­cal ex­trem­ist band that has pre­vi­ously pledged al­le­giance to the IS move­ment.

Only Salic and three other in­di­vid­u­als named in the charge sheet are in cus­tody.The Maute group spear­headed the bloody siege of the south­ern city of Marawi last year that lasted five months and left over a thou­sand dead, in­clud­ing many of the groups fighters.

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