JAKARTA (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) - Convicted terrorists and drug dealers will be isolated in high security cells on the Nusakambangan prison island in Central Java, a senior official said, weeks after the deadly coordinated terror attacks in Jakarta.
The measure aims to close a security gap which is seen as enabling Islamic ideologue Aman Abdurrahman, now serving time on Nusakambangan for his role in setting up a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) paramilitary training camp in Aceh in 2009, to mastermind the Jan 14 attacks.
Police has also discovered that Syaiful Anam alias Mujadid, a convicted terrorist formerly imprisoned on Nusakambangan, played a role in the attack that left four civilians dead.
Twenty cells on the island have been prepared and four convicted terrorists have already been placed there, said Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Jakarta on Thursday (Feb 11).
The isolation of both drug dealers and convicted terrorists is expected to prevent their involvement in operations outside of the prison, Luhut added.
"We have conducted a review. We will isolate cells in order to prevent any external communication," Luhut said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Such a move, Luhut said, would reduce the ability of drug dealers to bribe guards and outsiders during their period of imprisonment. Citing the drug problems in Mexico, Luhut noted that drug convicts could often assemble gangs of armed thugs on the outside and run their operations from within the prison.
"We don't want to be like Mexico", he said.
Similar rules will be applied to convicted terrorists, who will be categorised as ideological, radical or mere supporters. These groups will be placed in cells of no more than two people, Luhut said.
He added that convicted terrorists categorised as supporters could still be placed with other regular convicts without the risk of further radicalisation.
The minister on Thursday visited a number of prisons on the island accompanied by Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly, National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti and National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) head Police Comr. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution as part of preparations to implement the new policy.