Flash!!! ASG’s Madhatta Haipe pleads guilty to 4 counts of kidnapping in U.S. court

July 30, 2010 12:05 pm 

MANILA, July 29 — Filipino terrorist Madhatta Haipe, the high-profile founding member of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), pleaded guilty on July 28 (Washington time) to four counts of hostage-taking in the 1995 abduction of 16 persons, including four U.S. citizens, in southern Mindanao.

The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Assistant Attorney General David Kris, announced this development today, even as in Manila, U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. commended U.S. and Philippine authorities “whose close and relentless collaboration brought about Haipe’s extradition and admission of guilt.”

In information from the U.S. embassy, the ASG operative “faces up to life in prison on each of the four counts to which he pleaded guilty. As part of the plea agreement, the (U.S.) government may advocate for a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.”

In August 2009, he was extradited from the Philippines to face the charges against him, and was indicted for the crime by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. in November 2000.

It took 15 years until Haipe, now 48 years old, finally pleaded guilty before the federal court in the District of Columbia. The crime happened in Lake Sebu, where a group of Filipino-Americans was vacationing on December 27, 1995. A few days later, on December 31, the abductors released the hostages after ransom was paid. (PNA)

scs/GJB

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