Riduan Isamuddin also transliterated as Riduan Isamudin, Riduan Isomuddin, and Riduan Isomudin, better known by the nom de guerre Hambali, born as Encep Nurjaman, born April 4, 1966 (Indonesia) is the former military leader of the Indonesian terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which is linked with Al Qaeda. He is now in extrajudicial detention in the United States's Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.
Hambali was often described as "the Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia". Some media reports describe him as Bin Laden's lieutenant for Southeast Asian operations. Other reports describe him as an independent peer. He was highly trusted by Al Qaeda and was the main link between the two organisations. Hambali was a close friend of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who planned Operation Bojinka and the September 11 Terrorist Attacks. Hambali envisioned creating a Muslim state, in the form of an Islamic superpower (a theocracy) across Southeast Asia, with himself as its leader (Caliph). His ambition was to rule Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, and parts of the Philippines, Myanmar, and Thailand
Receiving increasing attention in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing, in which 202 people died, he was eventually apprehended in a joint operation by the CIA and Thai police. He is currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, after three years of CIA custody in a secret location.
The two co-founders sent their students to "study" in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The students actually fought the Soviets until the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. A woman named Noralwizah Lee Abdullah had gone to Malaysia for religious schooling. She secretly married Isamuddin after meeting him at the Luqmanul Hakiem School in Ulu Tiram, Johor. The school was founded by Sungkar and Bashir.
Initially, Isamuddin struggled to make a living for his family. He switched from selling kebabs to patenting medicines. He soon disappeared from his home for weeks at a time, and he received many visitors at home. He eventually came to own a red hatchback and several cell phones. Investigators say that many calls on those cell phones were made to Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother in law, who had arrived back in Manila, Philippines in 1991.
After Arab visitors gave his family lots of money, he founded a shell company, Konsojaya, in June 1994. Ostensibly an import-export company trading in palm oil between Malaysia and Afghanistan, it was essentially a front company for terrorism. Wali Khan Amin Shah, who would become the financier of Operation Bojinka, was a director of Konsojaya. The company provided financial assistance to the project until it was discovered by investigators on a laptop computer after an apartment fire on January 6, 1995. Shah was arrested in the Philippines but escaped on a short order. Shah was arrested in Malaysia in December 1995. Both Shah and mastermind Ramzi Yousef, who escaped the Philippines but was arrested in Lahore, Pakistan, were extradited to the United States. They were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison for participating in the project.
Hambali planned and attended the January 2000 Al Qaeda Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Among the others present were two September 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. This gathering in Kuala Lumpur was observed by the CIA and Malaysian authorities, but what specifically was being said at the meetings was not picked up. Hambali also provided money and documents to Zacarias Moussaoui in October of that year.
After the Bali nightclub bombing, in which 202 people were killed, Hambali received more attention from the United States. In the years leading up to the attack, the Indonesian government's action against Islamic militants had been minimal. Following the attack, Abu Bakr Bashir was arrested as part of a crack down on Jemaah Islamiah. He was wanted in Indonesia for the bombings of several churches in the region, and wanted for the Bali bombing and a failed plot on several targets in Singapore.
Thai police found him as part of a joint operation between the Thai police and the CIA on August 11, 2003. The twenty uniformed and undercover police smashed down the door to his one bedroom apartment in Ayutthaya, and arrested him and 33-year old Noralwizah Lee Abdullah, a Chinese Malaysian who was considered to be his wife. Hambali was wearing a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a baseball cap, and a pair of sunglasses. Police also seized explosives and firearms in the property. It marked the end of a 20-month hunt for Hambali, who was 37 years of age when he was captured.
A 2006 Human Rights Watch report stated that Hambali was imprisoned in Jordan for the account of the CIA. On September 6 2006, President George W. Bush confirmed that Hambali had been held by the CIA and revealed that he had been transferred to Guantanamo Bay. His wife is now in Malaysian custody.
On September 8 2006 Indonesia formally requested access to Hambali to ensure a fair trial. The United States are reluctant to hand him over because of the lenient sentence Indonesia imposed on Bashir.
Hambali is also wanted in the Philippines for the transfer of explosives on Filipino soil in an attempt to transport them to Singapore.