JAKARTA, Indonesia – Radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman was sentenced to death by an Indonesian court Friday for ordering Islamic State group-affiliated militants to carry out attacks including the January 2016 suicide bombing at a Starbucks in Jakarta.
Abdurrahman, who police and prosecutors say is a key ideologue for IS militants in the world’s largest Muslim nation, kneeled and kissed the floor as the panel of five judges announced the sentence while counterterrorism officers guarding him uttered “praise be to God.”
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. Police say the leader of those bombers was part of the network of militants 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.
They included the Starbucks attack in the capital that killed four civilians and four militants, an attack on a bus terminal in Jakarta that killed three police officers and an attack on a church in Kalimantan that killed a 2-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 defense lawyers to consider lodging an appeal.
The defendant’s “speeches, teachings and instruction have inspired his group and followers to commit criminal acts of terrorism in Indonesia,” said presiding Judge Ahmad Zaini.
Abdurrahman has refused to recognize 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, a network of extremists that pledged allegiance to IS and was opposed to Indonesia’s secular government.
Reflecting a dire lack of supervision of militants in Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons, Abdurrahman was able to spread radicalism and communicate with his supporters on the outside through visitors and video calls, they say.
The suicide bombings in Surabaya last month killed 26 people, including 13 attackers. Two families carried out the attacks, using children as young as 7.
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 a jihadi training camp in a mountainous area of Aceh province.
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