Batam cell leader 'funded terror acts'

The leader of the Batam terrorist cell accused of planning an attack on Marina Bay held a bank account used by Indonesian militants with ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), state prosecutors said.

Money in the account of Gigih Rahmat Dewa funded terrorist activities in Indonesia, they added.

Their claim was supported by Arif Hidayatullah, a jailed militant who told an East Jakarta District Court yesterday that 1.2 million rupiah (S$125) was transferred to his bank account some time in 2015.

"I do not know Gigih, but I was told by Aishah that money would be transferred to my account for our operations," Arif said, referring to Indonesian militant leader Bahrun Naim by his alias Abu Aishah.

Arif also said Bahrun had instructed him to use the cash to buy paraffin, acetone and a weighing scale, but he did not reveal what the items were for. When prosecutors put it to Arif that the 1.2 million rupiah was from Gigih's account, he did not object.

Bahrun has since joined ISIS in Syria, while Arif is in prison for trying to assassinate Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, as well as for bomb plots.

Evidence presented at Arif's trial last year showed that he was acting on Bahrun's order to procure explosives and other materials needed to assemble bombs for attacks.

Gigih was arrested in Batam together with five Indonesians in August and September last year, over the foiled plot to attack Singapore with a rocket, as well as funding terrorism and harbouring militants.

Their ties to Bahrun are a key part of the prosecution's case.

Gigih's lawyer Muamar Kadafi yesterday challenged the prosecution's claim that Gigih had kept in contact with Bahrun in Syria via the messenger app Telegram.

The trial continues next week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Batam cell leader 'funded terror acts''. Print Edition | Subscribe