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Indonesian Muslim leader sentenced to death over 2016 attack

An Indonesian Muslim leader was sentenced to death on Friday over his role in a deadly 2016 suicide attack at Jakarta Starbucks cafe carried out by an affiliate of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.



Aman Abdurrahman, who police and prosecutors said is a key ideologue for ISIL, in the world's largest Muslim nation, kneeled and kissed the floor as the panel of five judges announced the sentence.

Several hundred paramilitary and counterterrorism police secured the Jakarta court where the trial took place.


Fears of attacks have been elevated in Indonesia after suicide bombings in the country's second-largest city, Surabaya, last month that were carried out by families including their young children.

The suicide bombings in Surabaya killed 26 people, including 13 attackers. Two families carried out the attacks, using children as young as 7.

Police said the leader of those bombers was part of the network of fighters inspired by Abdurrahman.

During the trial, prosecutors said Abdurrahman's instructions from prison, where he was serving a terrorism-related sentence, resulted in several attacks in Indonesia.
Threat of armed groups

They included the Starbucks attack in the capital that killed four civilians and four fighters, an attack on a bus terminal in Jakarta that killed three police officers and an attack on a church in Kalimantan that killed a two-year-old girl. Several other children suffered serious burns from the Kalimantan attack.

The court said there was no reason for leniency. It gave seven days for defence lawyers to consider lodging an appeal.

Abdurrahman has refused to recognise the authority of the court, part of his rejection of secular government in Indonesia and desire to replace it with Shariah law.

According to prosecutors, Abdurrahman founded Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which pledged allegiance to ISIL and was opposed to Indonesia's secular government.

Reflecting a dire lack of supervision of armed groups in Indonesia's overcrowded prisons, Abdurrahman was able to spread his ideology and communicate with his supporters on the outside through visitors and video calls, they say.

Reporting from Jakarta, Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen said the case was a "wake-up call" for Indonesian authorities.

"Indonesian prisons have been notorious for a long time, not only for drugs trade but also for recruitment of people for these violent groups.

"Mobile phones are widely available, internet is still widely available. This is a call for a lot of people to ask the government to finally overhaul this prison system," she said.

Abdurrahman was sentenced to prison in 2004 after a bomb he made prematurely exploded at a house in West Java, and again in 2011 for his role in helping set up an armed training camp in a mountainous area of Aceh province.

Executions in Indonesia, which has long faced threats from armed groups, are carried out by firing squad.

In 2002, bombings at the resort island of Bali killed over 200 - mostly foreign tourists. It was Indonesia's worst-ever attack.



SOURCE: News agencies

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