May 18, 2018 / 7:04 AM / 3 months ago

Indonesia prosecutors seek death for cleric accused of planning attacks from jail

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian prosecutors on Friday sought the death penalty for radical Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman who is on trial accused of masterminding a series of attacks, including a deadly 2016 gun and suicide bomb assault in Jakarta, from his jail cell.

Policemen guard Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman inside a courtroom in Jakarta, Indonesia May 18, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Galih Pradipta/via REUTERS

Abdurrahman is on trial for “planning and/or mobilizing others to carry out terrorist acts ... to create an atmosphere of terror among the public”.

Prosecutor Anita Dewayani told the court that under Indonesia’s anti-terrorism laws the defendant, if found guilty, should face the death sentence.

Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman is seen inside a courtroom in Jakarta, Indonesia May 18, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Galih Pradipta/via REUTERS

“In view of the law, we demand the South Jakarta Court judges sentence the defendant who has been found legally and convincingly to have carried out terrorism,” said Dewayani.

Prosecutors have linked him to an alleged plot for a “Paris-style attack” targeting foreigners, as well as the January 2016 attacks in which eight people were killed, including four attackers, when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the heart of the Indonesian capital.

They also say he was behind a suicide attack last year that killed three police officers at a Jakarta bus station and the bombing of a church in Samarinda on Borneo island that wounded four children.

Abdurrahman’s lawyer said in court on Friday that there was no evidence to link the defendant to the attacks.

Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman is seen inside a courtroom in Jakarta, Indonesia May 18, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Galih Pradipta/via REUTERS

“He believed in establishing a caliphate, but he never proposed bombing,” said lawyer Asrudin, adding that his client had only ever talked about carrying out jihad in Syria.

The cleric was re-arrested by police last year after serving time in prison for setting up a militant training camp in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

Authorities believe Abdurrahman is the ideological leader of Islamic State-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a militant group in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country that the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.

Police linked a series of suicide bombings on churches and outside a police station in Surabaya this week to JAD.

In all, around 30 people were killed in the attacks, including 13 of the suspected suicide bombers.

Reporting by Jessica Damiana; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Nick Macfie

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