Indonesian cleric Aman Abdurrahman yesterday was sentenced to death for masterminding a 2016 Islamic State terror attack that saw a suicide bomber blow himself up at a Starbucks cafe.
Heavily armed police guarded the hearing at a Jakarta court, which had earlier found Abdurrahman guilty of ordering the attack that killed four in the capital.
It was the first attack claimed by the international terror network in Southeast Asia.
“[The defendant] has been proven to have committed a criminal act of terrorism,” said Judge Akhmad Jaini, who also cited Abdurrahman’s involvement in other plots in the ruling. “He will be sentenced to death.”
Abdurrahman, who sat on a defendant’s chair in the middle of the courtroom, appeared bored and showed little reaction as machine-gun-toting guards stood nearby.
He gestured to his legal team and briefly kissed the floor after the decision, but said nothing audible.
His lawyer, Asludin Hatjani, described the ruling as “unfair,” citing a lack of evidence connecting Abdurrahman to the deadly attack.
Executions are carried out by firing squad in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy.
In 2002, bombings at the resort island of Bali killed 202 people — including Taiwanese Eve Kuo (郭惠敏), 24, and four members of a Taipei-based rugby club — in Indonesia’s worst-ever terror attack.
The assault in the capital two years ago saw security forces battle gun-toting militants near the cafe where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
Prosecutors demanded that Abdurrahman be handed a death sentence for his role in that attack last month.
Considered the de facto head of the Islamic State group in Indonesia, Abdurrahman — believed to be 46 — is also the spiritual leader of local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
Authorities have said JAD was involved in the 2016 Jakarta attack and a wave of suicide bombings last month in Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya.
Two families — including girls aged nine and 12 — blew themselves up at churches and a police station last month, killing 13.
Authorities have not charged Abdurrahman — who was already in jail on a separate terror conviction — over the Surabaya attacks.
Despite being imprisoned since 2010, he has recruited militants to join the Islamic State group, is thought to have been in communication with its leaders and is the main translator for its propaganda in Indonesia, analysts and authorities said.
Although considered Indonesia’s largest pro-Islamic State coalition, JAD’s structure and links to the network are murky.
The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict has said JAD is “a generic term” used for any Islamic State supporter and functions more as an umbrella organization than a coherent group.
Formed in 2015, JAD is thought to be composed of about two dozen Indonesian groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the US Department of State, which last year designated it as an extremist network.
Apart from the 2016 Jakarta attacks, JAD carried out suicide attacks the following year which killed three police officers and injured a dozen others at a busy bus station in Jakarta.
It has also been linked to a series of other plots including a firebomb attack on a church that killed a toddler and a plan to launch a Christmas suicide bombing campaign.
That was foiled when the militants planning the attack were killed.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of