Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for JAD Leader After a Deadly String of Attacks Shakes the Country


MAY 18, 2018

Jakarta. Prosecutors at the South Jakarta District Court on Friday (18/05) demanded that Aman Abdurrahman, the leader of Islamic State-affiliated terrorist network Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, or JAD, be given the death penalty for his involvement in several high-profile attacks in the country.

The recidivist Aman, who also goes by Oman Rochman and Abu Sulaiman bin Ade Sudarman, 46, was first arrested in 2010 for funding a militant training camp in Aceh, for which he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

A few days prior to his release on parole in August last year, police named and detained him for his involvement in the January 2016 terror attacks in Thamrin, Central Jakarta, which killed eight, including the four attackers.

Prosecutors stated that Aman was the mastermind not only of the Thamrin attacks, but also of the church bombing in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, in 2016, the attack on the Kampung Melayu bus terminal in Jakarta last year, and other attacks on police posts in Medan, North Sumatra, and Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, in 2017.

Aman pledged loyalty to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 while interned at the Nusakambangan prison off the coast of Cilacap in Central Java, prosecutors said.

The terrorist mastermind allegedly called for unity among distinct terror groups operating in the country in October 2014, calling on followers Marwan, or Abu Musa, Zainal al Anshory and others, to converge their operations under one umbrella organization.

Marwan thus established JAD, state prosecutor Anita Dewayani said.

"The defendant Aman Abdurrahman has appointed Marwan, alias Abu Musa, as the emir of the central JAD, while Zainal al Anshory was appointed the emir of the network's East Java branch, because both of them have many followers," she explained.

Zainal took over the leadership of JAD when Marwan moved to Syria to join IS, Anita added.

Prosecutors said Aman's ultimate goal is to bring Indonesia under the IS caliphate, similar to the stated goals of Abu Sayyaf, a terror network operating in the southern Philippines, to make that country a satellite province of the IS.

Prosecutors said Aman served as JAD's religious and ideological expert, a role that allowed him to give directives to the group's rank-and-file members.

In December 2015, Aman encouraged his followers to make hijrah, or migrate to IS territory in Syria. If they were unable to make that move, Aman urged followers to wage jihad against enemies of Islam domestically, prosecutor Mayasari said.

"If you are not able to carry out jihad, donate your wealth to those who are able to, or if you cannot do it, encourage others to commit to the jihad," Aman reportedly wrote on social media, according to Mayasari.

Aman also reportedly participated in a video call with 30 JAD branch leaders from all over the country during the group's first national meeting in Batu, East Java, in November 2015. At the time, Aman was still imprisoned at Nusakambangan.

Aman translated IS documents and wrote about his interpretation of Islamic teachings. Later, his writings were posted online by one of his followers, prosecutors said.

"Democracy is a satanic teaching and followers of it are satanic worshipers," read one of Aman's posts, according to Anita.

"All state apparatus […] is part of taghut [idols worshipers], they are infidels."

Based on testimonies from other terror convicts, their actions were inspired by Aman’s teachings, especially those that railed against Indonesia as a democratic state, she added.

Aman reportedly gave his approval and blessing for the 2016 Jakarta attacks through Iwan Darmawan, alias Rois, another terrorism convict who received capital punishment for his involvement in bombing the Australia embassy in Jakarta in 2004.

Aman’s teachings have encouraged his followers and sympathizers to believe that by attacking security officers, they will gain rewards from God.

"We demand the panel of judges […] sentence the defendant, Aman Abdurrahman, to death," Anita said in court.

Prosecutors did not see any reason to give a lighter sentence to the defendant.

In responding to the prosecutors' demand, Aman said that he and his lawyer, Asludin Hatjani, will read out their defense statements separately in the next trial session.

The court will adjourn on Friday next week.

Previously, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said that JAD was responsible for a series of terror attacks in East Java on Sunday and Monday this week, as well as the deadly riot at the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) headquarters in Depok, West Java last week.

The court was guarded by about 180 police and military personnel.