Myanmar embassy bomb plotter jailed in Jakarta

Expert warns extremists are still targeting Myanmar

Myanmar embassy bomb plotter jailed in Jakarta

Sigit Indrajid at the Jakarta courthouse before his sentencing (Bay Ismoyo / AFP)

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta, Indonesia

January 22, 2014

A court in Jakarta has sentenced an Islamist militant to seven and a half years in prison for masterminding a plot to bomb the Myanmar embassy in the Indonesia capital.

The sentence awarded to Sigit Indrajid was lighter than the eight years demanded by prosecutors, who argued that he had violated the 2003 Anti-Terrorism Law.

Indrajid, a 23-year-old herbal product seller and Indonesian citizen, was arrested by officers of the National Police’s Special Detachment 88 counter-terrorism unit on May 22.

Police had already arrested three suspects prior to Indrajid’s arrest, among them two militants – Sefa Riano alias Asep, 28, and Achmad Taufiq alias Ovie, 21 – who were caught with five assembled pipe bombs.

The group admitted they had concocted the embassy plot in response to anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar.

"The defendant's actions contravene government efforts to combat terrorism and they spread public anxiety," said Judge Hariono, according to AFP. "The defendant realized the bombing would create fear among people and damage public facilities.”

Indrajdf reportedly told the news agency after he was sentenced: "I will continue fighting the enemies of Islam."

Terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail told that the verdict would not stop attempts by Islamist militants to attack Myanmar targets.

“As long as conflicts in Myanmar aren’t resolved, the Myanmar [embassy] remains the target [of attacks],” he said, adding that acts of hostility against such targets are “a form of solidarity” among extremists.

Clashes in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state between Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingya minority, which began in 2012, have left more than 250 peole dead, and sparked protests by Muslim groups in Indonesia.

In September 2012, a man admitted to planning a suicide bomb attack against Buddhists in Jakarta in response to Myanmar’s treatment of Muslim minorities, particularly Rohingya.

And in July last year, hundreds of Muslim hardliners protested outside the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta over the issue.