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Indonesia jails Uighur over attempt to join militants

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 29, 2015   /  08:04 pm
Indonesia jails Uighur over attempt to join militants

AFP

An Indonesian court Wednesday jailed a Chinese Uighur for six years after he was caught trying to join an Islamic extremist group led by the country's most wanted militant.

Ahmed Bozoglan was arrested last September on the rugged central island of Sulawesi as he and three other members of the mostly Muslim ethnic minority attempted to meet militant Santoso, leader of a group known as the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen.

The three others were jailed for six years each earlier this month.

Santoso's group, which hides out in the jungle in an area known as a militant hotbed, is considered one of the few remaining extremist outfits that pose a serious threat in Indonesia and has been accused of deadly attacks on police.

Santoso has also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Presiding judge Houtman Tobing said Bozoglan, 28, was guilty of an "evil conspiracy" for seeking to join the Islamic militant group and had also breached immigration laws by entering Indonesia using a fake Turkish passport.

"The defendant's deeds caused anxiety and fear," Tobing told a court in the capital Jakarta.

Bozoglan was also ordered to pay a fine of Rp 100 million (US$7,400) or spend another six months in jail.

Indonesia is home to the world'€™s biggest Muslim population of about 225 million. It has suffered a string of Islamic militant attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead.

However, a crackdown in recent years has largely dismantled the most dangerous networks.

The Uighur minority come from the northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang, where the group say they face cultural and religious repression.

Many are believed to have fled the restive region in recent years, sometimes travelling through Southeast Asia in the hope of resettling in Turkey.

Many Turks are sympathetic towards the Uighurs, who have cultural ties with Turkey and speak a Turkic language. There were protests in Turkey when around 100 members of the minority were sent back to China from Thailand this month.(+++)

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