Indonesia to charge radical ideologue Aman Abdurrahman for planning Jakarta attack

Police officers react near the site of an attack in Jakarta, Indonesia, in this Jan 14, 2016 file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

Jakarta - Indonesian authorities are set to bring charges against radical ideologue Aman Abdurrahman for his part in plotting the Jan 14 terrorist attack in Jakarta.

Counter-terrorism chief Tito Karnavian confirmed on Monday that police investigators have gathered sufficient evidence that proves Aman had a hand in the planning of the siege, which resulted in the deaths of four bystanders.

The former top cop and now head of Indonesia's national counter-terrorism agency (BNPT), said Aman will be charged with an offence of planning a terrorist attack.

If found guilty, the 44-year-old cleric faces either life in prison or the death penalty under Indonesia's laws.

Gen. Tito said Aman may be produced in court to answer to the charges by June this year but there is "no rush" because he remains in custody for a previous terrorism-related offence.

Aman was long suspected to have a role in the attack on the capital which was carried out by four militants under Indonesia's Jemaah Anshar Khilafah (JAK) terror network.

The "Jakarta Four" - comprising Sunakim alias Afif, Muhammad Ali, Dian Joni Kurniadi and Ahmad Muhazin - were initially members of different domestic extremist groups.

But Aman is believed to have consolidate those groups under the JAK sometime last year.

He is also said to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

ISIS had also publicly claimed responsibility for the Jakarta attack on the day of the incident.

Prison records seen previously by The Straits Times showed that Sunakim, Ali, Dian and Muhazin had visited Aman in Nusakambangan prison on at least three occasions in the months leading up to the attack on the capital.

Aman, 44, is serving time in the maximum-security prison for his role in setting up a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) paramilitary camp in Aceh in 2009 with Abu Bakar Bashir.

The police and Indonesia's National Intelligence Agency had also earlier indicated that Aman had authorised the strike on the capital.

Gen. Tito had said previously that investigators are also building a case against Aman's cellmate in Nusakambangan and former terrorist Iwan Darmawan Muntho, alias Rois.

Rois, who is on death row for his part in the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, may also see his execution date brought forward in view of the fresh charges.

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