Jakarta jails ISIS-linked couple who tried to assassinate minister

Court rejects their defence of being driven solely by anti-govt sentiment in stabbing attack

The trial of Syahrial Alamsyah and his wife Fitria Diana (both below) conducted over videoconference yesterday. The couple attacked then Security Minister Wiranto during his visit to Pandeglang regency on Java island last October. Alamsyah was jailed
The trial of Syahrial Alamsyah and his wife Fitria Diana conducted over videoconference yesterday. The couple attacked then Security Minister Wiranto during his visit to Pandeglang regency on Java island last October. Alamsyah was jailed for 12 years while Fitria received a nine-year sentence. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The trial of Syahrial Alamsyah and his wife Fitria Diana (both below) conducted over videoconference yesterday. The couple attacked then Security Minister Wiranto during his visit to Pandeglang regency on Java island last October. Alamsyah was jailed
The trial of Syahrial Alamsyah and his wife Fitria Diana (both above) conducted over videoconference yesterday. The couple attacked then Security Minister Wiranto during his visit to Pandeglang regency on Java island last October. Alamsyah was jailed for 12 years while Fitria received a nine-year sentence. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA • An Indonesian couple with links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group who tried to assassinate the country's chief security minister were jailed yesterday.

A Jakarta court handed a 12-year sentence to Syahrial Alamsyah, 51, and nine years to his wife Fitria Diana, 21, after convicting them on terrorism charges for trying to kill then Security Minister Wiranto in October last year.

The sentences were below prosecutors' demands for a 16-year and 12-year term, respectively.

The court rejected the couple's defence that they were solely motivated by anti-government sentiment, ruling that Alamsyah belonged to a local extremist group allied to ISIS.

"We rule that the defendant is guilty of terrorism together with his wife," presiding judge Masrizal, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told the West Jakarta District Court.

A third defendant was also sentenced to five years on terror charges linked to a separate attack planned with Alamsyah last year.

The hearing was held by videoconference due to coronavirus concerns, with lawyers and judges wearing face masks and the defendants listening via video link.

The trial had heard that Alamsyah stabbed Mr Wiranto, 73, as he exited a car during a visit to Pandeglang regency on Java island.

Alamsyah and his wife, who injured a member of Mr Wiranto's entourage, were wrestled to the ground by security personnel.

Mr Wiranto survived the attack, suffering knife wounds to his abdomen. Several others were injured in the attack.

Days before the assassination attempt, the pair pledged allegiance to late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the court said in its ruling.

Alamsyah was a member of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an ISIS-linked extremist group responsible for a string of attacks, including suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia's second-biggest city, Surabaya, in 2018 that killed a dozen people.

JAD is among dozens of radical groups that have pledged loyalty to ISIS in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

The couple were radicalised through hardline rhetoric on social media and watching videos of Muslims fighting in Syria, their trial heard.

They also listened to speeches by jailed firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, believed to be behind the 2002 Bali bombings, and Aman Abdurrahman, who was sentenced to death for masterminding gun and suicide attacks in Jakarta in 2016.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2020, with the headline 'Jakarta jails ISIS-linked couple who tried to assassinate minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe