Indonesian prosecutors seek death sentence for radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman

Indonesian radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman entering a court room on May 18 where prosecutors will be making their recommendation to judges on his sentence. ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
Beefed up security at courthouse on May 18, ahead of prosecution's recommendation to judges on the sentence for radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman.

JAKARTA - Prosecutors are seeking the death sentence for Indonesian radical Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman for inciting others to commit various terror attacks in Indonesia, including an attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left four bystanders dead.

"It is a fact that the defendent is an important figurehead (in the militant network) who has been referred to and gained respect as he dared to convey different views," said one of the five prosecutors who took turns to read their recommendation in a Jakarta court on Friday (May 18).

"Although some of the perpetrators of the various attacks had never met Aman, they read his writings available online and got inspired to launch the terror attacks," the prosecutor added.

Prosecutors had earlier said other terror attacks inspired by 46-year-old Aman that they took into consideration were those that took place in end 2016 and 2017 - the Kampung Melayu suicide bombing, Samarinda church bombing, Medan police post attack, and the Bima police shootings.

Prosecutors also said on Friday that they arrived at the recommendation of a death penalty after hearing the various witnesses' testimonies and checked other evidence that were presented in court throughout the trial that started on Feb 15.

"It is a fact that Aman, while preaching described democracy as syirik, or idolatry, and argued that Muslims had a duty to free themselves from this system and attack police, military and others that promote and defend the system," another prosecutor said.

Police said earlier that Aman gave the directive for the Jakarta attack and also supported and guided it from behind bars.

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The cleric had allegedly ordered his followers to mount the strike from prison, where he was serving a nine-year jail term for funding a Jemaah Islamiah paramilitary training camp in Aceh that police raided in 2010.

During an impromptu check, the authorities found several mobile phones concealed inside Aman's cell following the attack on Jan 14, 2016.

He was helped by cellmate Iwan Darmawan Muntho, who goes by the alias Rois.

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Aman and Rois were then moved to isolation cells and barred from meeting guests other than close relatives. Rois is on death row for his part in the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta.

It has also emerged that the three men who carried out the recent greater Surabaya terror attacks with their families had visited Aman in prison.

Aman and his lawyer are expected to present their rebuttal next Friday before the judges announce the verdict and sentence.

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