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Jakarta Post

Police play down US terror list

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 21, 2013   /  11:58 am

The National Police said on Friday they would not arrest two Indonesian nationals who were recently added to the list of global terrorists by the US government for their links to what it considered Indonesian-based terrorist organizations.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that the police would not take any action unless Washington filed a formal request through the National Central Bureau (NCB)-Interpol Indonesia. '€œAs far as I know,
we haven'€™t heard any official information about that from the US government. I don'€™t know if the National Police Chief has heard any of it,'€ he said.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department issued a press release stating that it had included two Indonesians, Afif Abdul Majid and Said Ahmad Sungkar, on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list for their alleged involvement in providing financial support for Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) and Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), labeled by the US government as terrorist groups.

NCB-Interpol said that they had not received any special notice about the matter from the Interpol system, through which the member countries could share any urgent information about international crimes.

The US Treasury Department has said that JI and JAT still posed threats because the two groups, which were established and inspired by firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Ba'€™asyir, had links to the international terrorist organization al-Qaeda.

'€œThe threats posed by terrorist groups such as JI and JAT remain significant. We will continue to take action to protect the international financial system from illicit activity tied to these groups, making it ever more difficult for them to carry out their acts of violence,'€ US Treasury'€™s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a statement.

Afif, who lives in Pacitan, East Java, allegedly provided funding to a terrorist camp and oversaw its recruitment process. As a member of JAT'€™s consultative council (majelis syuro), he allegedly urged JAT fighters to take violent action against the National Police, according to the US treasury'€™s statement. The US authorities said Afif donated US$2,000 to support the Aceh terrorist training camp in early 2010.

Afif said that he was not concerned about the US move to designate him a terrorist. '€œI am just a preacher, it is impossible for me to have any assets in the US,'€ he said, adding that he preached from mosque to mosque and there had never been any problems with his activities.

Meanwhile, Said, who lives in Pekalongan, Central Java, is being accused of providing financial, material or technological support to both JI and JAT. The department has also found that he had recently conducted fund raising and recruiting for JAT in 2013.

Said did not understand the accusation leveled against him by the US government, saying '€œI have not even dreamed of being a JI or JAT member,'€ as quoted by tempo.co.id.

Said admitted, however, that he had a close relation with JAT founder Ba'€™asyir, whom he regarded as his teacher. '€œHe was my teacher and we often preached together before he was taken to prison,'€ he added.

Disgraced cleric Ba'€™asyir was sentenced to 15 years'€™ imprisonment after being proven to have planned and raised up to Rp 1.39 billion ($125,358) for a terrorist training camp in Aceh.

In February last year, the US Treasury Department included another three JAT members in its terrorist list. They were JAT spokesman Son Hadi bin Muhadjir and two JAT members Mochammad Achwan and Abdul Rosyid Ridho.

Son Hadi accused the US government of slander, saying that its counterterrorism operation was just a disguise to take Indonesia'€™s natural resources and wealth.

Insp. Gen. Arif Darmawan of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) said that his agency would not directly help the US government should they ask them to arrest the two suspects or designees.

'€œWe haven'€™t received any information. In addition, we will not do whatever they want. We will verify the accuracy of the information. They also need to coordinate with the Foreign Ministry and the police before making any request,'€ he said.

The Indonesian authorities have detained more than 800 suspected terrorists and accomplices since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 200 people, including foreigners.

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