Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Indonesia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Indonesia, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbcb5c.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: The Indonesian government continued to strengthen and build its capacity to counter terrorism. Complementing strong domestic efforts, Indonesia cooperated and coordinated where appropriate with other countries, including the United States. Indonesian counterterrorism operations continued to disrupt efforts by terrorist organizations to use the country as a safe haven for training and conducting attacks. Border security remained a challenge, given that Indonesia is composed of more than 17,000 islands and has numerous points of entry by land, sea, and air.

Terrorists in Indonesia appeared to have changed tactics in recent years from large-scale bombings of high-profile targets to smaller, more diffuse attacks generally directed at domestic institutions, especially those representing the central government. For the most part, explosives used in a string of suicide bombings during the year were of poor quality and most of these bombs were relatively small and unsophisticated. This trend likely reflects the Indonesian government's success in capturing or killing experienced leaders and bomb-makers since 2009.

Despite the government's efforts to block violent extremist websites, the internet increasingly provided a source of "inspiration" for terrorists, some of whom became radicalized after viewing extremist websites, or banded together through participation in violent extremist social networking websites. DVDs, distributed through terrorist networks, were also a major source of radical information. Authorities have noted increased attempts by radical extremists to spread their messages at public universities and secondary schools. There were also ongoing concerns about incarcerated terrorists who spread extremist messages to other prisoners.

U.S. and Western-affiliated interests remained potential targets for terrorists, although their focus was increasingly on attacks against local government and law enforcement entities, especially the police.

2011 Terrorist Incidents:

  • In March, a series of four "book bombs" were mailed in Jakarta to a senior police officer and prominent civilians. There were no fatalities, although one book bomb exploded while police attempted to dismantle it, injuring four people.

  • On the night of April 20-21, law enforcement officials discovered and defused a series of bombs planted in close proximity to a gas pipeline near a church on the outskirts of Jakarta.

  • On May 25, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) members associated with arrested JAT military leader Abu Tholut attacked a police post in Palu, Sulawesi. The terrorists killed two police officers, wounded a third, and stole their weapons.

  • On July 11, an explosion took place at the Umar bin Khattab Islamic Boarding School on the island of Sumbawa, killing the treasurer of the school whom police suspected was teaching bomb-making skills to students. After gaining entry, the police discovered bomb-making ingredients and materials, explosive devices, and extremist literature.

  • Two suicide bombings, both on the island of Java, claimed the lives of both bombers. Each attack caused injuries but no other fatalities. On April 15, the bomber detonated explosives in the Cirebon police mosque in West Java during midday prayers, injuring nearly 30 people. On September 25, a suicide bomber in Suryakarta (also known as Solo), Central Java, struck at a Protestant church at the end of the morning service, injuring approximately 20. According to the Indonesian National Police (INP), both suicide bombers were affiliated with a loose-knit terrorist network with connections to JAT.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Intelligence Bill, passed on October 11 but not implemented by year's end, would allow the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to intercept all forms of communication, including electronic, after first obtaining a warrant. The Attorney General's Office and the INP could then introduce these intercepts into court as evidence. The new law would also allow BIN to obtain financial records and to question individuals without detaining or arresting them in order to prevent terrorist and other acts deemed threatening to national security. Some sectors of civil society and civil rights groups have expressed concern about the scope and reach of the law.

In 2011, there were 93 people arrested on terrorism charges, 121 prosecutions, and seven pending cases involving 33 defendants. In June, radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment based upon his support for a paramilitary terrorist training camp in Aceh that was discovered and disbanded by Indonesian National Police in 2010.

In July and August, the Medan High Court sentenced terrorists involved in a 2010 bank robbery, conducted to finance terrorism, to sentences ranging from five to 12 years. In October, Abu Tholut, implicated in the Aceh terrorist training camp case for training and providing weapons to terrorists, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term. Umar Patek, a suspected explosives-maker for the bombs used in the 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali, was arrested in Pakistan in January and transferred to Indonesia in August.

Indonesia remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided enhanced training in investigative skills for Detachment 88, a premier Indonesian antiterrorism unit that regularly conducted major operations against terrorists in the region.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Indonesia is a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Indonesia criminalizes terrorist financing in several paragraphs of its 2003 terrorism legislation but the legislation has been criticized as ineffective and inadequate. The Indonesian Financial Intelligence Unit, PPATK, worked with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to rewrite Indonesia's terrorist financing law to make it compliant with standards of the FATF and best global practices.

At its October plenary, the FATF decided that Indonesia had not yet made sufficient progress on its action plan to enact terrorist finance legislation and to develop regulations and the other legal instruments necessary to freeze terrorist assets in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

The provisions under Indonesian law to seize and freeze assets were not clearly drafted and required a criminal conviction before the seizure of assets. There was no comprehensive terrorist financing legislation that criminalized terrorist financing in accordance with FATF and international standards. Additionally, the mechanisms in place under Indonesian law were difficult to implement effectively. Capacity issues and inadequate legislation hampered Indonesia's efforts to monitor non-profit organizations. In particular, charitable and religious institutions remained largely unregulated, although the Indonesian government was looking at creating an administrative process to monitor non-profit organizations.

On October 14, the National Coordination Committee adopted the National Strategy on the Prevention and Eradication of Criminal Act of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing for years 2012-2016. The 12 focus areas of the National Strategy ranged from a better use of technology to drafting new laws and implementing regulations to improve execution of current laws and regulations. The National Strategy also included a call to enact an asset forfeiture law and a terrorist financing law.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Indonesia is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and co-chairs the Forum's Southeast Asia Capacity Building Working Group with Australia. Indonesian officials participated in the GCTF's other working groups as well. Indonesia supported the Global Counterterrorism Strategy of the UN. With the United States, Indonesia co-chaired the counterterrorism expert working group in the Association of Southeast Nations Defense Ministers Meeting Plus mechanism.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continued to play a leading role in countering violent extremism, complementing nascent efforts by Indonesia's year-old National Counterterrorism Agency, the organization charged with implementing the government's counter radicalization and disengagement programs. Civil society and government organizations focused on both educational institutions and prisons. Several NGOs worked on university campuses to spread messages of tolerance and respect to dissuade young people from radicalizing. Indonesian authorities continued to express concern about recidivism, underscoring the need to implement effective disengagement programs in prisons. Programs in prisons aimed to disengage convicted terrorists from violent behavior, helping to redirect them to more positive choices after release. Increasingly, efforts were made to include the families and communities of terrorists, recognizing the important role that they play in post-release terrorist rehabilitation.

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