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Philippine massacre suspect in court to seek bail

world Updated: Jan 13, 2010 07:06 IST
Philippine massacre suspect in court to seek bail

The chief suspect in the massacre of 57 people in the southern Philippines was taken to court in handcuffs on Wednesday for a hearing on his request for bail.

Andal Ampatuan Jnr, a local town mayor and scion of one of the most powerful Muslim political clans in the country, was taken to a special courtroom at the national police headquarters under a heavy security escort.

"Prosecutors are to offer witnesses to show that the evidence against Andal is strong," prosecution lawyer Pete Principe told DZBB radio, adding that the government is calling for the court to reject his bail bid.

Ampatuan pleaded not guilty last week to multiple counts of murder over the killing of 57 people in an ambush on convoy of supporters of a political rival in the southern province of Maguindanao on November 23.

Among the dead in the worst political murders ever seen in the Philippines were about 30 journalists and pregnant women.

His father, Andal Ampatuan Snr and several other clan members were arrested after martial law was imposed in Maguindanao and charged with rebellion. No date for their court appearance has been set.