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Indonesian court jails three over bid to kill minister

Prison sentences are too light given the gravity of the crime, observers say

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Indonesian court jails three over bid to kill minister

After a trial conducted by video conference due to the coronavirus, judges read out the sentences of a trio convicted of trying to kill then security minister Wiranto last October. (Photo: Bay Ismoyo/AFP)

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An Indonesian court has jailed three people linked to the Islamic State group, including a married couple, for attempting to assassinate a government minister.

West Jakarta District Court sentenced Syahrial Alamsyah and his wife Fitri Diana to 12 and nine years in prison respectively on June 25.

The court also sentenced a man known by the single name of Samsudin to five years in prison for his involvement in the stabbing of then security minister Wiranto in October last year in Pandeglang district of Banten province.

All three are alleged members of a local terror group called Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

JAD 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 bombers.

“Bismillah [in the name of God], I accept the sentence completely,” Alamsyah, known as Abu Rara, said after the sentences were read out during the video conference hearing.

Prosecutors had demanded a 16-year term for Alamsyah, 12 years for his wife and seven years for Samsudin.

Stanislaus Riyanta, an intelligence analyst from the University of Indonesia, said the sentences were too light.

“I see the judges still lack sensitivity in meting out sentences in cases linked to such extraordinary crimes,” he told UCA News.

He called on the government to subject the convicted trio to a proper deradicalization program without saying what that should be.

“If not, there will remain a threat. Once they are released from prison, they could do the same again. While in prison, they can also radicalize other prisoners,” he said.

He pointed to a November 2016 terror attack against the Batak Society Christian Church of Oikumene in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, that left a girl dead.

The perpetrator of the petrol bomb attack had previously been sentenced to life imprisonment for several bomb plots. He ended up only serving three and a half years after his sentence was cut three times.

“The government must think about what will happen following the release of the trio,” Riyanta said.

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