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Indonesia court case sparks female suicide bomber fears

Dian Yulia Novi received seven-and-a-half years in a case that puts spotlight on terror threat coming from women

Indonesia court case sparks female suicide bomber fears

This picture taken on Aug. 23 shows Dian Yulia Novi, left, with her husband Nur Solikin during their trial at East Jakarta District Court in Jakarta. Dian has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years jail for her involvement in an Islamic State-inspired plot to carry out a suicide bomb attack on the presidential palace in Jakarta. (Photo by Arie Firdaus/AFP)

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

August 30, 2017

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The jailing by an Indonesian court of a woman who planned to act as suicide bomber has sparked concerns in the country about the potential threat of female terrorists.

A court in East Jakarta jailed Dian Yulia Novi for seven-and-a-half years on Aug. 25 for conspiracy and attempting terrorism.

It was the first time a would-be female suicide bomber has been convicted in Indonesia. Prosecutors wanted her jailed for 10 years but the sentence was reduced because she cooperated.

The court also sentenced another terror suspect, Tutin Sugiarti, to three and a half years for being an accessory.

Novi planned to blow herself up outside the presidential palace, on the orders of Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant believed to be fighting with the so-called Islamic State in Syria, the court was told.

Indonesia's elite anti-terrorism unit arrested Sugiarti, her husband Nur Solikin, and another suspect in December last year, a day before the attack on the palace was due to take place.

"A number of targets were targeted by her cell," Syafrudin Ainor, a judge at the East Jakarta court told He added that Novi was pregnant and was expected to give birth next week.


Female terrorist threat

Taufik Andrie, an intelligence and terrorism analyst, said terrorist groups recruiting women as suicide bombers was unusual.

Novi's case, he said, is a warning to security forces that terror groups will stop at nothing to launch attacks.

"This case also marks a change in strategy which is getting worse," he said.

Commenting on the case in January, the Institute for Policy Analysis and Conflict said although other women have been convicted for terrorism-linked activities, none were major players like Novi.

The role of women in terrorism and their exposure to radical ideas should not be underestimated, it said.

"Women can just as easily as men take part in radical chat forums, meet men, read ISIS propaganda, express their aspirations and find like-minded friends all in the relatively safe space of encrypted messaging," the report said.

In an interview with Time magazine earlier this year, Novi said she was radicalized by individuals linked to the Islamic State whom she met on social media during her time as a domestic worker in Taiwan.

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