Tag: Islamic militants

Government to move Abu Bakar Bashir to a Central Java prison

The Indonesian government will move ailing radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to a prison near his hometown in Solo, Central Java for humanitarian reason.

“[The decision] is final. We’ll just need to move him to Central Java,” chief security minister Wiranto told journalists on Wednesday.


On Tuesday, Wiranto said the government has made the decision by taking into account the firebrand cleric’s old age and poor health without compromising the legal and security aspects. He also said that Bashir will have access to medical treatment and if necessary, the government will take him to the hospital “using a helicopter”.

Bashir will be moved from his isolation cell in Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java to a prison near Klaten in Central Java where  he can be close to his family.

Earlier in the week, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights said Bashir is ineligible for house arrest. It was one of the options the government said it was considering as leniency to the ailing cleric.

“House arrest is only available for a defendant who is standing trial, while Bashir is no longer a defendant. He is a prisoner, convicted to serve time in prison,” Ade Kusmanto, a spokesman for the ministry’s Directorate General of Correction said.

Last week, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told journalists at the state palace that house arrest for the cleric is very likely, as the government is weighing up which form of clemency it could give to Bashir. The cleric suffers from pooling of blood on his legs, a condition which requires him to undergo regular medical check-ups.

On Mar. 1, Bashir was taken to a hospital in Jakarta for treatment which his lawyer, Achmad Michdan, said had been scheduled for Nov. 2017. He is scheduled for another check up on Thursday.

President Joko Widodo said the government gave permission for Bashir to go to the hospital on humanitarian grounds.

Kusmanto said the cleric can ask the president for clemency, given that he is in poor health and will become an octogenarian this year. Another possibility is to demand parole, for which he will be eligible in June 2019 when he will have served two-thirds of his 15-year prison sentence.

Michdan said his client rules out both the options since applying for either one would mean that Bashir pleads guilty to the charges against him.

Bashir was convicted in 2011 for supporting paramilitary training in Aceh, and the firebrand cleric is described as the ideological icon of Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), including those who carried out bomb attacks in Bali in 2003.

“Bashir believes he is innocent because he was merely observing his faith as a Muslim. He was collecting money to fund training and travel for those who wanted to go as mujahideen to Palestine. He wasn’t rebelling against the country,” Michdan said.

Michdan said that it should be possible for the government to “relocate the place” where Bashir serves his sentence from Gunung Sindur prison to his house in Solo, Central Java.

He cited examples of jailed former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is serving his two-year sentence for blasphemy at a special police detention instead of a correctional facility, and East Timor resistance fighter Xanana Gusmao who had been imprisoned in Jakarta when he was fighting for East Timor’s independence from Indonesia. He was then confined to a house in Central Jakarta in 1999.

Terrorism analyst Adhe Bakti said even though house arrest is not regulated in the Criminal Procedures Code, Gusmao’s case was laden with political context at that time when East Timor was going for a referendum in which they voted for independence from Indonesia on Aug. 30, 1999.

“But the government could make a breakthrough by giving Bashir leniency to serve the rest of his sentence on house isolation based on humanitarian grounds. At least it would project a positive image of the government before the Islamists,” Bakti said.

Bakti warned that isolation remains necessary given Bashir’s revered position among militants.

“Even though he is no longer affiliated with ISIS, he still very much identified with radical teaching,” Bakti said.

This story has been updated from its original version in Arab News

Jakarta police revised civilians killed in Thamrin bombings to four

Jakarta police on Sunday revised the number of civilians casualties in Thursday’s bombings to four after one of the wounded victims who was hospitalised died late Saturday.

Jakarta police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said Sunday the latest fatality was a man identified as Rais Karna. He was a bystander and had worked in a local branch of Bangkok Bank.

Iqbal said Rais died Saturday evening at 9.30 PM at Abdi Waluyo hospital in Menteng. Rais was shot in the head and he had been in a coma ever since the attack.

The other three civilians killed in the bomb and gun attack by suspected Islamist militants in Central Jakarta were a Canadian national identified as Tahar Amer-Ouali and two Indonesians identified as Rico Hermawan and Sugito.

Police said CCTV recording showed Rico was heading towards the traffic police post on Thamrin Street’s median strip with a policeman, who was issuing him a traffic ticket, when the post was blown up by a bomb attack.

National Police chief Badrodin Haiti had earlier said they had identified four of those killed on Thursday as attackers but they were not sure whether another body identified as Sugito was also an attacker or a bystander, however, Iqbal later confirmed that Sugito was a civilian.

“The total fatalities now increased to eight, four were civilians while four others were the attackers,” Iqbal said.

A Jakarta resident placed a banner that said #wearenotafraid during a mass rally in front of Menara Cakrawala building in Central Jakarta on Friday, 15 January 2016, the site of multiple bomb blasts that killed four civilians and four attackers a day earlier. Photo: Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

Police identified one of the four attackers as Afif, who was also known as Sunakim. He was photographed aiming his gun towards the police in the middle of Thamrin street, just right in front of Sarinah department store.

Police said he had been sentenced in 2010 to seven years in prison for being involved in a paramilitary training camp in Aceh, but was given early release.

Head of police forensic team Musyafak also revised the number of victims wounded in the bomb attacks to 26, including five policemen and 10 of them have been released from the hospitals.

The attackers blown up a Starbucks cafe in Menara Cakrawala building next to Sarinah and a traffic police post, shot policemen as well as bystanders and involved in an ensuing gunfight with the police for four hours.