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Indonesia

Indonesia demands stiff sentences for minister's assailants

Intelligence analyst says jail terms of up to 16 years for suspected terrorists are not long enough

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Indonesia demands stiff sentences for minister's assailants

Judges (left) preside over a June 18 hearing in Jakarta conducted by video conference due to Covid-19 concerns to hear a case against three people accused of stabbing Indonesia’s chief security minister. (Photo: AFP)

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Prosecutors in Indonesia have demanded jail terms of up to 16 years for three suspected terrorists accused of attempting to kill a government minister.

Syahrial Alamsyah, his wife Fitri Diana and a man known as Samsudin are alleged members of a local terror group called Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.

The group was blamed for a series of bomb attacks on churches in Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, in May 2018 that killed 28 people including 13 attackers.

All are accused of stabbing Indonesia's then coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister, Wiranto, in October last year in Pandeglang district of Banten province.

West Jakarta District Court spokesperson Eko Aryanto told a June 18 hearing that prosecutors sought 16, 12 and seven years in prison for Alamsyah, Diana and Samsudin respectively.

Alamsyah and Diana have pleaded not guilty to the charges, while Samsudin requested a lighter sentence. Judges are due to deliver their verdict on June 25.

Stanislaus Riyanta, an intelligence analyst from the state-run University of Indonesia, said the proposed sentences were too lenient.

“Terrorism is an extraordinary crime. An individual who commits a terror attack can face the death penalty. In this case, the individuals attacked a state official, which is very serious,” he told UCA News.

Hoping the judges will deliver harsher sentences than the prosecutors’ demanded, Riyanta believed the JAD will not retaliate. 

“If the accused have prominent roles in JAD, the group will likely seek revenge. But if they are only sympathizers, it will remain silent,” he said.

He said the biggest threat at the moment comes from lone-wolf terrorists. 

The analyst pointed to a June 1 attack in South Kalimantan province where a suspected supporter of the Islamic State group killed a policeman and critically injured another after attacking a police post with a sword.

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