National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius, right, in September. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Hundreds of Terrorism Inmates Refuse to Join Govt Deradicalization Programs: BNPT Chief

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

Jakarta. Nearly half of all terrorism convicts across the country have refused to participate in the government's deradicalization programs, the head of the National Counterterrorism Agency, or BNPT, said on Thursday (15/09).

BNPT data shows that there are currently 242 terrorism convicts, with four levels of radicalism, serving their sentences in 72 penitentiaries across the country.

"We are currently pushing efforts at deradicalization by putting forward a spiritual approach," BNPT chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius said during a hearing with lawmakers at the House of Representatives in Jakarta.

As many as 50 of the terrorism convicts have refused to either meet with counterterrorism officials or to undergo deradicalization, Suhardi said. They are considered the most dangerous terrorism convicts and have been classified as level 1 in terms of radicalism.

Another 63, who have been classified as level 2, have shown a willingness to meet with counterterrorism officials but refuse to engage in any deradicalization programs.

At least 85 terrorism convicts, categorized as level 3, have participated in the programs but refused to invite their fellow prisoners, while 35 have been willing to meet counterterrorism officials and engage in deradicalization programs.

Aside from the terrorism inmates, the BNPT has also enrolled 478 former terrorists and their networks in 17 provinces with its deradicalization programs. The former terrorists include 2002 Bali bomb mastermind Ali Imron and Umar Patek, who have since distanced themselves from their previous ideological views. They are currently active in promoting the BNPT's deradicalization program across Indonesia.

The country has been on heightened alert after Islamic State sympathizers launched attacks in Jakarta's downtown area, killing four people in January this year.

Six months after the incident, a suicide bomber attacked the Solo Police headquarters in Central Java, which resulted in one officer sustaining injuries. Last month, a suicide bomber also launched a failed attack on Catholic church in Medan, North Sumatra.

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