MANILA – Prosecutors in the Philippines filed charges on Monday against a 20-year-old Spanish citizen who was arrested for alleged terror links, accusing him of illegal possession of explosives, a crime which carries a life sentence in the country.
Abdelhakim Labidi Adib, of Tunisian origin and born in Madrid, was arrested on Jan. 22 at a military checkpoint on Basilan island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf terror group in the southern Philippines, allegedly carrying two hand-grenades and an improvised explosive device in his backpack, according to the petition filed in the court by the armed forces.
“The arrest of respondent and the recovery of the above articles (explosives) from him are justified,” prosecutor Peter L Ong said in the petition, which was seen by EFE.
The prosecutor rejected the Spaniard’s claims that he was in the Philippines as a tourist, was arrested illegally, and that the backpack did not belong to him and he was not a Muslim.
The prosecutor said that the his claim of having reached Basilan after being lured by a local is impossible to believe, and supported the military’s version, which said that Labidi tried to flee and threw away the bag.
The military has alleged that Labidi is a “sympathizer” of Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to the Islamic State and responsible for multiple attacks and kidnappings in the archipelago in recent years.
Labidi, who is being held at a detention center in Manila, still has a chance of filing a petition for the dismissal of the case before the trial begins.
The possession of explosives or incendiary devices such as grenades, homemade detonators and Molotov cocktails carries a life sentence in the Philippines.