JI spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir moved to Bogor prison in high-security transfer

The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016.
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016. ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016.
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016.ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016.
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016. ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016.
The Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, where Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was transferred to from Nusakambangan on April 16, 2016. ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA

Jemaah Islamiah (JI) spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was on Saturday (April 16) moved from Nusakambang prison in Cilacap, Central Java, to a jail in Bogor, about an hour's drive from the capital Jakarta.

Bashir, 77, arrived at Gunung Sindur prison in West Java province just after noon under heavy guard, with about 300 police officers, including troops from the elite Mobile Brigade (Brimob), involved in the high-risk prisoner transfer.

The founder of the South-east Asian terror network, who is serving time for funding a JI paramilitary training camp in Aceh, was moved to the smaller state penitentiary near a major city to ensure that he is able to receive proper medical treatment, said Mr Atmadji Sumarkidjo, a senior official from the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, on Saturday.

Bashir's lawyer Achmad Michdan had earlier told The Straits Times that his client was ill and needed medical care. It was also due to his deteriorating health that Bashir has had difficulty attending court in Jakarta from Nusakambangan, which is further away from the capital than Bogor.

Law ministry officials said that an ambulance and a Baracuda armoured personel carrier were among the vehicles in the convoy escorting Bashir to Gunung Sindur which currently houses more than 1,300 inmates.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly had said previously that Indonesia plans to separate terrorist inmates Bashir and Aman Abdurrahman by moving them out of the Nusakambangan island prison, where they were already locked up in isolation cells.

He added that the government decided to move the clerics away from Nusakambangan to curb their influence on other inmates as well as their followers outside of prison.

Aman is also scheduled to be transferred to a prison in West Kalimantan in the weeks ahead.

Bashir, who used to lead the now disbanded JI, and Aman, 44, were jailed in 2010 for setting up the JI militant training camp in Aceh.

Bashir is appealing against his conviction, while Aman could be released as early as December 2018.

They were placed in isolation cells after initial police investigations found that they may be involved in the Jan 14 terror attack in Jakarta which killed four bystanders.

The probe has now shifted its focus to Aman, after police discovered that the four militants who mounted the strike on the capital had visited him in prison at least three times before the attack.

Indonesian intelligence had also traced phone calls originating from Nusakambangan, a maximum-security prison complex, to Syria.

Aman is suspected to have made some of those calls to a person in Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

A source told The Straits Times previously that calls were uncovered by investigators examining 14 mobile phones found in a jail cell shared by Aman and JI operative Iwan Darmawan Muntho.

The phones were believed to have been smuggled into prison by visitors.

wahyudis@sph.com.sg