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Philippine doctor in New York plot charged in kidnap-murder case

Russel Salic has been in custody after US charged him over a failed plot to attack key New York landmarks

Image Credit: Courtesy: News5
File photo of Russel Salic

MANILA: A Philippine doctor accused of wiring money for a foiled New York terror plot has been charged in a separate Daesh-inspired kidnapping and murder case at home, documents released on Tuesday said.

Russel Salic, an orthopaedic surgeon, has been held in custody in the Philippines after US prosecutors charged him over a failed plot to attack New York's subway, Times Square and concert venues in the name of IS during the Ramadan in 2016.

US prosecutors are seeking his extradition.

Now Salic and 53 other suspected Filipino extremists have been charged with kidnapping six lumber yard workers in the southern island of Mindanao - killing two of them - to demonstrate their loyalty to the Daesh movement in the Middle East.

The hostages said that in 2016, armed men in the southern island of Mindanao, abducted and tortured them, accusing them of being spies for the military, the Justice Department documents said.

The hostages were made to wear orange clothes and photographed. They were told that the pictures would be loaded onto the Internet to show the armed band's loyalty to IS.

Two of the hostages were later beheaded but the rest were freed after their employer negotiated with the kidnappers.

The workers said that among their captors was a man who they were told was a doctor but who was only seen guarding and cleaning guns. This man was later identified as Salic, the department said.

Salic has insisted he was innocent and said he could prove he was attending a medical convention elsewhere during the incident, the department records showed.

However he was still included in the list of 54 accused in the kidnapping and murder case which has been blamed on the Maute group, a local extremist band that has previously pledged allegiance to the Daesh movement.

Only Salic and three other individuals named in the charge sheet are in custody.

The Maute group spearheaded the bloody siege of the southern city of Marawi last year that lasted five months and left over a thousand dead, including many of the groups fighters.

The Justice Department could not immediately say whether the new charges would affect efforts to extradite Salic to the United States.