Jailed cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s defence team is considering lodging a second case review request with the Supreme Court.
One of Ba’asyir’s lawyers, Achmad Michdan said there was a change in the composition of panel of judges who reviewed the case.
“The judges who handed down the ruling are different to those who were appointed to preside the hearings when we lodged the appeal. We weren’t notified that there was a change,” Michdan said.
“This is peculiar and we are going to question this. For us, this is a legal problem,” he said.
Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi said the court rejected Ba’asyir’s appeal against his 2011 conviction for funding militant training in Aceh.
“The court handed down the verdict on July 27. It was rejected because it didn’t meet the requirements for an appeal, such as presenting new evidence,” Suhadi said.
Suhadi confirmed that there was a change in the panel of judges. The three justices initally appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Hatta Ali were Artidjo Alkostar, Suhadi, and Sri Murwahyuni with Artidjo as the chair.
“When Artidjo realised it was Ba’asyir’s case, he resigned from the panel on grounds that he has served as a judge in Ba’asyir’s previous case,” Suhadi said.
Artidjo was one of the justices that presided Ba’asyir’s appeal in 2004 after South Jakarta District Court sentenced him to 30 months in prison for his involvement in the 2002 Bali and August 2003 JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta bomb attacks.
The five-justice panel overturned Ba’asyir’s conviction in 2006 and declared he was not involved in both attacks.
Both Michdan and Ba’asyir’s son, Abdurrahim Ba’asyir, declined to comment further on the rejection, saying that they have not received the official copy of the ruling.
Abdurrahim, who is the youngest of the Ba’asyir’s three children, said he believed that the five witnesses testified in his father’s appeal hearings were credible.
“We still don’t know why the appeal was rejected. We want to know why. We believed, God’s willing, the argument in the appeal was solid and we presented credible witnesses,” he said.
One of the five witnesses who testified in court with Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab and three terrorist convicts incarcerated in Nusakambangan prison island was physician and humanitarian worker Joserizal Jurnalis.
joserizal, who is the founder of humanitarian group Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), expressed concerns about the Supreme Court rejection, saying that the panel of judges should have taken Ba’asyir’s ill-health and old age into account.
“I really regret the verdict. As his physician, my main concern is his health and old age. He is now 77 years old and by the time he finishes his sentence, Ba’asyir would be 87 years old,” Joserizal told The Parrot.
Ba’asyir was transferred from a Nusakambangan prison to Gunung Sindur prison in West Java on April 16 so that he could receive better medical treatment and where he remains isolated.
He said that Ba’asyir is in good health for a man his age and that he keeps exercising in his isolation cell with sports equipment and static bike that his medical team provided, with the approval of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry.
Ba’asyir’s lawyers argued that the cleric believed the money he donated was to support the establishment of an Indonesian hospital in Palestine, which MER-C constructed and that Ba’asyir was unaware the money he donated was used to fund the extremist training camp in Aceh.
The first hearing took place at the Cilacap District Court in Central Java just two days before the suicide bomb attack in Jakarta on January 14.
Meanwhile, Indonesian police on Friday arrested six suspected Islamist militants, one of whom had allegedly considered launching a rocket at Singapore’s Marina Bay, a spokesman said.
The six were arrested in three separate locations on Batam island, just south of Singapore, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said.
The suspects are linked to Bachrun Naim, a wanted Indonesian militant thought to be fighting alongside the Islamic State group in Syria, Amar said.
Among those arrested was Gigih Rahmat Dewa, who according to Amar had plotted together with Naim to launch a rocket from Batam at Singapore’s Marina Bay.
The alleged plan never materialized.
“[Dewa] also helped facilitate trips by Indonesians to Syria via Turkey,” Amar said.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has suffered several deadly attacks blamed on Islamist militants since the early 2000s.