Govt to focus on terrorism prevention
Fedina S. Sundaryani and Ina Parlina
The Jakarta Post
The government is currently considering several options that may be included in possible revisions to the current antiterror laws, including one that would prevent jihadists who have fought with the Islamic State (IS) movement abroad from returning to Indonesia.
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said on Wednesday that a provision that would allow authorities to strip the citizenship of Indonesian nationals fighting in foreign lands, would be part of a draft of new policies that aimed to improve terrorism prevention.
'Yes, we will include such a provision [...] Nowadays there is an urgent need [to implement such a policy], so that the police can take preventive action,' Jokowi said.
Jokowi also reiterated that the government was still preparing the details of the new provisions that could be included in the revision of Law No. 15/2003 on terrorism eradication, a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) or a new law focusing on terrorism prevention.
Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said Jokowi would have another limited Cabinet meeting on the subject on Thursday at the Presidential Palace.
Meanwhile, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Comr. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution said that an amendment to the 2003 Terrorism Law would have at least four provisions, including a change in the definition of 'treason' that would allow authorities to criminalize individuals who joined radical groups or declared 'caliphates' abroad.
'The problem right now is that those who leave the NKRI [the Unitary Republic of Indonesia] to join a caliphate abroad can't be categorized as someone who has committed treason, because IS does not have a sovereign territory,' he said.
Saud said that by adding such a provision, Indonesians who joined caliphates or took part in paramilitary training abroad could be prosecuted and have their citizenship revoked.
Saud also said that any amendment to antiterrorism laws should also cover de-radicalization efforts ,as the existing regulations did not touch on measures to ensure that civilians and former terrorists would not return to radicalism.
Saud added that improvements to the witness protection program that allowed individuals to testify via video call or use written statements in court would also be of great importance.
'There is also the problem of intelligence data that currently can't be used as evidence. For the time being, we propose that intelligence information be allowed in court and judges can then decide whether it is legally admissible,' he said.
Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian backed the proposal, saying that intelligence information should be included as a legitimate form of evidence.
Tito, who is a former head of the police force's counterterrorism unit Densus 88, also asked for the police to be given the authority to charge groups who held gatherings based on their adherence to radical ideology.
'We [currently] can't press charges, against those who declare their support for IS,' he said.
Tito, however, rejected any proposal that would allow the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) or the Indonesian military (TNI) to arrest and detain terrorism suspects.
'If we allow the military or intelligence community to be involved, then rights violations might be likely. Also, using the military requires a political decision and we don't want terrorism to be seen as a political movement. Therein lies the danger,' Tito said.
Separately, the director of Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), Sidney Jones, agreed that a revision of anti-terrorism laws must not give institutions other than the National Police the authority to arrest and detain terrorism suspects.
'Neither BIN, BNPT nor the TNI should be given powers that should be [the] exclusive role of the police. If more agencies are included, it could increase interagency rivalry and potential for abuse,' she told The Jakarta Post.
Jones also agreed that the police should be given the power to arrest and detain terrorism suspects before they committed attacks as long as they could collect enough evidence about an attack plot.
Jones also backed a proposal made by National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti who requested a month-long detention period for potential terrorism suspects, instead of the current seven-day period.
'It would be acceptable if they can guarantee that family members are notified immediately about their arrest and whereabouts; that they have access to legal counsel from the time of arrest; and that no excessive force is used in interrogation,' Jones said.
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