7 Indonesian men jailed for supporting IS

When a Jakarta court sentenced seven Indonesian men to prison for supporting Islamic State, the name Abu Bakar Bashir was not far from the judges’ lips.


The ageing radical cleric – notorious in Australia as the spiritual leader of the group behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombings – was mentioned twice during the sentencing of the group at West Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.

The first time was during the matter of Tuah Febriwansyah, also known as Fachry, who created a website in 2013 to promote IS’s activities in the Middle East.

“The defendant’s action has created unease in society, has created fear, has influenced people to commit violence,” Chief Judge Achmad Fauzi said when sentencing him to a maximum of five years in prison.

Tuah, the court heard, had also visited Bashir at the notorious island prison Nusakambangan to discuss IS.

When this meeting took place and what was said was not revealed during the court session.

But Bashir’s name popped up again when Chief Judge Mochamad Arifin sentenced one of Tuah’s co-accused, Ahmad Junaidi alias Abu Salman, to a maximum of three years after he trained in an IS camp in Syria for 24 days in 2014.

Ahmad, Judge Arifin stated, was a follower of the terrorist Abu Jandal who was featured in a video threatening to attack the island prison where Bashir is kept in order to release him.

“Many Indonesians have joined ISIS because of such videos,” the judge said.

It is not the first time Bashir has been linked to known terrorists in recent times.

The judicial review currently being held into his 15-year sentence for his support of a militant camp in Aceh has heard one of the gunmen behind the recent attack on Jakarta, Afif, is said to have visited him at the same prison.

It was within the same jail’s walls that Bashir pledged his allegiance to IS in 2014.

The case of the seven men highlights not just concerns over terrorists’ ability to access Bashir in jail but also the number of Indonesians who have travelled to Syria.

Helmi Muhamad Alemudi was sentenced on Tuesday to a maximum of three years and six months for conspiring to facilitate a terrorism act and for funding terrorism.

The court heard he took 39 Indonesians into Syria in several stages between June and August 2014, and raised Rp 257 million ($A26,700) for IS.

Meanwhile at Cilacap court in Central Java on Tuesday, Bashir defended his involvement in a military training camp in Aceh, saying he chooses to follow Islamic rather than Indonesian law.

“Maybe giving help to military training according to Indonesian law is wrong but I follow Islamic law because that is related to the next life,” he told the court during the review into his case.