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Indonesia seeks death for radical cleric over deadly attacks

Prosecutors say Abdul Rahman’s instructions from prison resulted in several attacks

Gulf News

Jakarta: Indonesian prosecutors on Friday demanded death for radical cleric Aman Abdul Rahman who is accused of ordering attacks including a January 2016 suicide bombing and gun attack in Jakarta that killed four civilians and four attackers.

Abdul Rahman, who police and prosecutors say is a key ideologue for Daesh in the world’s largest Muslim nation, sat impassively as the prosecution announced the sentencing demand before a panel of five judges.

Prosecution lawyer Anita Dewayani said Abdul Rahman’s acts had resulted in deaths and injuries and there was no ground for lenience.

Abdul Rahman’s next hearing was set for May 25 when he and his lawyer, appointed by the court after the cleric refused to be represented, will respond to the prosecution.

“I’ll do my own defence,” Abdul Rahman told the court.

Prosecutors say Abdul Rahman’s instructions from prison, where he was serving a terrorism-related sentence, resulted in several attacks in Indonesia. They included the January 2016 attack on a Starbucks cafe in Jakarta, an attack on a bus terminal in the capital that killed three police officers and an attack on a church in Kalimantan that killed a two-year-old girl. Several other children suffered serious burns in the Kalimantan attack.

Abdul Rahman, prosecutors said, founded Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of extremists that pledged allegiance to Daesh and was opposed to Indonesia’s secular government.

Reflecting a dire lack of supervision of militants in Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons, Abdul Rahman was able to spread radicalism and communicate with his supporters on the outside through visitors and video calls, prosecutors say.

Authorities deployed dozens of elite counterterrorism and paramilitary police officers during Friday’s hearing at the South Jakarta District Court following a wave of attacks by Daesh-inspired militants.

Suicide bombings on Sunday and Monday in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, killed 26 people, including 13 attackers. Two families carried out the attacks, using children as young as seven. Police said they were part of the same militant network that Abdul Rahman played a key role in.

Abdul Rahman was sentenced to prison in 2004 after a bomb he made exploded prematurely at a house in West Java, and again in 2011 for his role in helping set up a militant training camp in a mountainous area of Aceh province.