The Jakarta Post
Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) indicted on Tuesday home-grown extremist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) for playing a significant role in recent terror attacks in the country and demanded the court name JAD a forbidden organization.
In the first trial at the South Jakarta District Court, JAD was represented by Zainal Anshori, the leader of JAD’s East Java chapter, who is considered to be the group’s second-in-command after Aman Abdurrahman, the group’s founder and a terror convict currently on death row.
Prosecutor Heri Jerman said JAD was a terrorist network and therefore could be held responsible for various past terror attacks masterminded by its members.
The prosecutors indicted JAD for violating Article 17, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Terrorism Law, which could hold an institution, regardless of whether it is a legal entity registered with the government or not, and its administrators responsible for terrorism.
JAD, the largest local terror group pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, is believed to be responsible for multiple deadly bombings in East Java and the killing of six police officers at the Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Depok, West Java, in May.
“JAD is indicted as a corporate entity [as stated in the Terrorism Law], or in this case, as an organization. The Terrorism Law states that, if an organization harms the public, a request to declare it forbidden can be made,” Heri said after the hearing, as quoted by Kompas.com.
“There have been a number of incidents that harmed people, such as suicide bombings, which were claimed by JAD.”
Concerns surfaced over the indictment as JAD was not an entity registered legally in the government’s database, which could lead to the notion that such an indictment was void.
Heri, however, dismissed such concerns, saying that “Article 17 allows us to prosecute an organization not registered legally in order to have it declared a prohibited organization”.
Zainal did not refute the indictment, allowing the trial to proceed, with testimonies from at least four other JAD members being heard.
Prosecutors also summoned University of Indonesia law professor Sutan Remy Sjahdeini as an expert witness.
In the first trial, the prosecutors said JAD was established by Aman in 2014 while he was serving a prison sentence for another terrorism-related case on Nusakambangan prison island in Central Java.
JAD’s indictment came about a month after the same court sentenced Aman to death after finding him guilty of inciting several deadly attacks in Indonesia, including the Thamrin shootings and suicide bombings in 2016 on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta and the 2017 Kampung Melayu bombings in East Jakarta.
However, this is not the first time a terror group has been declared illegal in the country’s history. In 2008, the South Jakarta District Court named Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), an al-Qaeda-linked group that orchestrated the 2002 deadly bombing in Bali, a forbidden organization. At the time, the court found the group guilty of violating Article 17 of the Terrorism Law.
The ruling came after the same court found JI members Abu Dujana and Zarkasih guilty of committing terrorist acts and sentenced both men to 15 years behind bars.
Terrorism expert Solahuddin lauded the indictment, saying: “It was the right thing to do, as more than 200 members and caretakers of the organization, which pledges allegiance to IS, have committed terror acts.”