Jemaah Islamiyah Leaders Jailed

JAKARTA ~ A court sentenced two leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) group, blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, to 15 years’ jail on Monday and slammed the Islamist outfit as a “terrorist organization.”

Self-proclaimed Jemaah Islamiyah leaders Abu Dujana and Zarkasih were sentenced to 15 years each at separate trials at the South Jakarta District Court.

Both men were arrested in separate police raids on the island of Java in June last year. They were found guilty of assisting terrorists and possessing, storing and moving weapons destined for terror acts.

The charges under anti-terrorism laws in the world’s largest Muslim nation did not relate specifically to the bombings of crowded bars in Bali that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

But JI is accused of organizing the coordinated attacks and one of the alleged terrorists Dujana was convicted of protecting was Malaysian national Noordin Mohammad Top, one of the suspected Bali masterminds.

Top remains at large and is believed to be hiding somewhere in Indonesia. His colleague and compatriot Azahari Husin was shot dead in a raid in East Java in 2005.

Three men accused of carrying out the bombings – Amrozi, Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudra – face death by firing squad after being convicted of their roles in the attack.

Zarkasih, who is aged in his 40s and like many Indonesians only uses one name, is understood to have led the extremist group in 2004, before Dujana, 37, rose to prominence as the leader of the organisation’s military wing.

“He knew about the firearms and ammunition that were to be used for terror purposes but he did not report this,” Judge Risdianto said of Zarkasih.

“He also did not provide information although he new that there were movements taking place that tended towards terrorism.”

In addition to their jail terms, Zarkasih and Dujana were also fined Rp10 million (US$1,100) for their membership of JI.

In response to questions from the judges, both of the accused said they needed time to consider whether they would appeal their sentences.

The extremist group, which was outlawed after the Bali attacks, was a “terrorist organization,” said Judge Wachyono, who led the judging panel hearing Dujana’s trial.

The two men were arrested in the same week in different parts of central Java last year.

Dujana, who once taught at Islamic schools in Indonesia and Malaysia, was shot and wounded by police during a raid on his hideout in the city of Banyumas. Zarkasih was arrested in Yogyakarta.

JI was previously believed to have been linked with Al Qaeda but security analysts now think the organisation is working alone in its jihad, or holy war, against Westerners in Southeast Asia.

In another courtroom in the same building, Judge Harianto sentenced three men who were arrested with Zarkasih to between seven and eight years in jail.

Harianto said the defendants “have been found legally and convincingly guilty of providing assistance to acts of terrorism.”

Taufik Masduki was jailed for eight years while Aziz Mustofa and Nur Afifuddin were given seven years each.

The prosecutors in the case had recommended 14 years for Masduki, and 12 years each for Mustofa and Afifuddin.

Harianto told the cout that the three had helped raise funds totalling Rp30 million that were given to Dujana to distribute to JI widows and members undergoing military training in the southern Philippines.

He said that the three had also failed to notify the authorities about the whereabout of Dujana and Zarkasih.

Filed under: The Nation

Comments are closed.