Radical Indonesian cleric Aman Abdurrahman faces death penalty ruling for 2016 attack

Prosecutors have demanded for the execution of Aman Abdurrahman, who is suspected of masterminding the gun and suicide attack in Jakarta in 2016.
Prosecutors have demanded for the execution of Aman Abdurrahman, who is suspected of masterminding the gun and suicide attack in Jakarta in 2016. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (AFP) - An Indonesian court is set to decide Friday (June 22) whether to sentence a radical cleric to death for his role in a 2016 terror attack that was the first claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in South-east Asia.

Aman Abdurrahman is suspected of masterminding the gun and suicide attack in downtown Jakarta which left four attackers and four civilians dead.

The assault in the capital saw dramatic scenes as a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Starbucks while security forces battled gun-toting militants.

Last month, prosecutors demanded that Abdurrahman be executed for the attack.

Abdurrahman - considered the de facto head of all ISIS supporters in Indonesia - is also the spiritual leader of local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

Authorities said JAD was behind the 2016 attack and a wave of suicide bombings in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya last month.

Two families - including girls aged nine and 12 - blew themselves up at churches and a police station, killing 13.

All had ties to JAD, with the father of the church suicide bombers identified as a local leader in the group.

Authorities have not charged Abdurrahman, who is in jail on a separate terror conviction, over the Surabaya attacks.

Despite being in jail since 2010, Abdurrahman has recruited militants to join ISIS, is thought to have been in communication with leaders of the jihadist group, and is the main translator for ISIS propaganda in Indonesia, according to analysts and authorities.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, has long struggled with Islamic militancy, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people - mostly foreign tourists - in the country's worst-ever terror attack.