U.S. military prosecutors announced plans to move ahead with the trial of three men detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who allegedly participated in the 2002 Bali bombings and the a 2003 Jakarta attack.
A U.S. military lawyer approved noncapital charges including murder, terrorism and conspiracy for the three accused. The defendants have been in U.S. custody for 17 years.
The first to be charged was alleged Indonesia militant Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, the leader of the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiah and believed to have been the top representative of terror group al-Qaida in the region.
Mohammed Farik Bin Amin and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, both Malaysian citizens - were top aides of Isamuddin who had allegedly been trained by al-Qaida, case files from Guantanamo showed.
Lawyers for the three accused were surprised by the timing of the charges - which were submitted under former U.S. President Donald Trump but not finalized.
"This was done in a state of panic before the new administration could get settled," Marine Corps Maj. James Valentine, the military attorney for the most prominent of the three, said.
The timing of the charges would also seem to be in conflict with U.S. President Joe Biden's plan to shut down the facility, according to analysts.
Gen. Lloyd Austin, Biden's pick for U.S. Defense Secretary, this week reasserted the proposal to close Guantanamo to the Senate panel.
When Biden was Barack Obama's vice president, they sought but failed to close the Guantanamo prison facility. Trump, for his part, showed no interest in Guantanamo and its prisoners.
More than 200 people were killed in the October 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali, including 88 Australians. The August 2003 attack on the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta the following year killed 12 and injured around 150.