An Indonesian court on Friday sentenced to death an Islamic State-linked cleric, Aman Abdurrahman for masterminding from his jail cell a string of deadly militant attacks across the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Abdurrahman, 46, is considered the ideological leader of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) – a loose grouping of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia.
“The court sentences the defendant to death,” said the judge, Ahmad Zaini, adding that Abdurrahman had been proved guilty of “carrying out terrorism”.
According to The StraitsTimes of Jakarta, the five-judge panel ruled that Abdurrahman had planned and incited others to commit terror acts.
“The defendant has either met his followers face to face or distributed his write-ups widely on the internet, MP3 clips as well as (live) audio calls,” presiding judge Akhmad Jaini told the court room.
The panel cited an expert’s views at the trial that a terror attack is part of a set of actions that include contemplating and planning the attack, and that everyone involved must be held responsible.
Prosecutors had sought the death sentence for Aman, who had been charged with inciting various terror attacks, including a gun and suicide-bomb attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left four bystanders dead.
The 2016 terror attack was the first claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in South-east Asia.
Aman is the spiritual leader of local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), and is considered the de facto head of all ISIS supporters in Indonesia.. Authorities said JAD was behind the 2016 attack and a wave of suicide bombings in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya last month.
Although some of the perpetrators of the various attacks had never met Aman, they read his views online and were inspired to launch the terror attacks, prosecutors had said.
Aman’s lawyer Asluddin Hatjani said he would discuss with his client whether to appeal the verdict.
Security was tight with heavily-armed police guarding the court room and court house grounds.
Cameras and telecommunication devices were not allowed at the hearing to comply with a recent directive from Indonesia’s broadcasting agency expressing concerns about terrorist trials being reported live and being used by some quarters to spread violent ideology.
*Reuters and Straitstimes.com