Indonesia sentences six inmates to death over 2018 riot and hostage crisis

The riot at a maximum security jail left five elite counter-terrorism force members dead.
The riot at a maximum security jail left five elite counter-terrorism force members dead.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia has sentenced to death six prisoners for their involvement in a deadly 2018 riot and hostage crisis at a maximum security jail, a court official said on Thursday (April 22), an incident described by security officials at the time as "an act of terror".

The riot at the Mako Brimob detention facility in Depok in Jakarta's outskirts resulted in the deaths of five members of Indonesia's elite counter-terrorism force detachment, Densus 88, during a 36-hour stand-off.

The East Jakarta District court sentenced the six prisoners late on Wednesday under the country's terrorism law, said Mr Alex Adam Faisal, the court spokesman, adding all six accepted the verdict and did not immediately file appeals.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria at the time said, via its Amaq news agency, that it was responsible for the incident, but the Indonesian police dismissed that claim.

According to local media reports, most of the victims had their throats slashed.

More than 150 inmates were involved in the riot and dozens were able to obtain weapons, including rifles, which were raided from a storage area for confiscated arms.

Indonesia has struggled to counter militancy in prisons, according to security analyst Stanislaus Riyanta, who said some extremists command influence in jails and have succeeded in radicalising other inmates.

While the use of capital punishment has declined globally, Indonesia sentenced 117 people to death last year, mostly for drug-related offences, an increase of 46 per cent according to Amnesty International's 2020 Death Penalty Report.