JAKARTA: An Indonesian militant linked to the Islamic State group smiled and raised one finger toward heaven after a court yesterday sentenced him to 11 years in prison for leading a plot to attack a presidential guard-changing ceremony in Jakarta. At the same sentencing hearing, a co-conspirator, who received six years in prison, shook his fist in the air and shouted “God is Great.”
Muhammad Nur Solihin, the ring leader, and Agus Supriyadi were arrested along with two other militants including Solihin’s wife in December, just one day before their planned attack on the popular family attraction at the presidential palace. In its verdict at the East Jakarta District Court, a three-judge panel said there was no justification for either man’s actions and both were guilty of violating Indonesia’s anti-terror law.
The would-be suicide bomber, Solihin’s wife Dian Yulia Novi, was sentenced last month to 7 1/2 years in prison. Another woman, Tutin, received 3 1/2 years for encouraging Novi to become a suicide bomber. The apparently unrepentant militants are indicative of the challenge facing Indonesian authorities who have imprisoned hundreds of Islamic radicals in the past decade for plots and attacks. After serving their sentences, many emerge from the country’s overcrowded prisons with an even greater commitment to violent radicalism and new links to other militants.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has waged a sustained crackdown on violent jihadis since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, but efforts to de-radicalize convicted militants have had uneven success. Meanwhile, a new threat of attacks has emerged from Islamic State group sympathizers. In a television interview after December arrests, Solihin said that he married Novi as his second wife to facilitate her desire to become a suicide bomber.
Presiding Judge Syafrudin Ainor Rafiek said the 37-year-old Supriyadi helped transport Solihin and the bomb for the attack from Central Java to Novi’s residence in Bekasi, a Jakarta satellite city. The 27-year-old Solihin was the alleged leader of a small extremist cell in Central Java’s Solo city, police have said. His 28-year-old wife planned to run close to the presidential guards during the ceremony and blow herself up with a pressure cooker bomb. Police have described the group as part of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups that formed in 2015 and pledges allegiance to Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. – AP