A Jakarta court has sentenced a prominent Indonesian terrorist linked to the 2002 Bali bombings to 15 years in prison.
- Zulkarnen was arrested after 18 years in December 2020
- He admits he was a military commander in the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, but denies any involvement in the Bali bombings.
- He could not be prosecuted in connection with the 2002 attack because the Statue of Borders was finished.
Aris Sumarsono, better known as Zulkarneen, was a former military commander for the Jemaah Islamia (JI), an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group.
They were found guilty of aiding and abetting terrorism by either lending money, harboring a terrorist criminal and concealing information about a terrorist act.
The judge, who cannot be named for security reasons based on the country’s anti-terrorism law, announced a sentence of 15 years in prison to a life sentence by prosecutors.
Judgment and punishment are not directly related to the 2002 attacks, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
The 58-year-old was on the run for nearly two decades after being named a suspect in the Bali attacks.
He was arrested in December 2020 after a raid by the Anti-Terrorism Police in Sumatra.
Police and prosecutors accused Zulkarnen of playing a role in making the bombs used in the Bali attacks, and the 2003 bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta killed 12 people.
But the Jakarta court dismissed charges that he masterminded the Bali bombings because the statute of limitations had expired.
During the trial, Zulkarnen stated that he was the leader of the military wing of the JI, but denied any involvement in the nightclub bombings.
Zulkarnan’s lawyer Asaluddin Hatjani said his client’s prison sentence was too long and added that he would seek advice on whether to appeal.
Stanislaus Ryanta, a security analyst at the University of Indonesia, warned that Zulkarnen should be supervised behind bars, despite his prison sentence.
“He can spread his radical ideology in prison,” said the analyst.
In the wake of the Bali attacks and with support from Australia and the United States, Indonesia established a specialized counter-terrorism unit called Densus 88, which helped weaken the JI and led to the arrest of hundreds of suspected terrorists.
While it is unclear how strong the threat from the JI is, other groups such as the Islamic State-inspired Jama’ah Anshrut Daulah (JAD) have risen to prominence and have been blamed for new attacks in Indonesia, including the 2018 suicide bombings in Surabaya. Are included. 30 people.