Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Indonesia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Publication Date 30 April 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Indonesia, 30 April 2009, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
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.

Indonesia experienced its third consecutive year without a major terrorist attack while the Government of Indonesia continued to build a legal and law enforcement environment conducive to fighting terrorism within its borders. The Indonesian government's counterterrorism efforts across law enforcement and judicial sectors drastically reduced the ability of terrorist groups, such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI), to plan and carry out attacks. Arrests in South Sumatra and Jakarta demonstrated that JI-affiliated individuals and groups, as well as other radical institutions, such as the Komite Aksi Penanggulangan Akibat Krisis (the Crisis Management Committee (KOMPAK)), remained a security threat, but with reduced ability to carry out attacks.

The Indonesian National Police (INP) used information gained from suspects arrested last year to maintain tight surveillance over suspected militant strongholds. In July, the INP raided a home in Palembang, South Sumatra, capturing ten suspected terrorists and a small cache of explosives. At the time of the arrests, the men were allegedly plotting an attack on a cafe frequented by non-Muslims in a resort town in Sumatra. Members of the group have also been accused of killing an Indonesian teacher in 2007 and of attempting to kill a Catholic priest in 2005.

In October, a raid on a house in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, led to the capture of five suspects and another small cache of explosives. The Jakarta suspects were connected to KOMPAK, which in the past had provoked militancy in Poso, Sulawesi, and to Darul Islam, a long-standing extremist Islamic group with some militant strains. Both raids demonstrated INP successes in interdicting terrorist operations. The United States worked to build the investigative support for and forensic capabilities of the INP through numerous developmental programs.

The Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) continued to provide tactical and investigative training, equipment and technical assistance to the INP's elite counterterrorism units, Detachment 88. Regional Detachment 88s, working with other specialized factions of the INP, have participated in operations that lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of terrorist suspects in the past few years. As a result of ATA's train-the-trainer initiative, INP instructors now have the instructional skill sets necessary to conduct all Detachment 88 tactical training.

The Attorney General's Task Force on Terrorism and Transnational Crime successfully prosecuted terrorists, and the U.S. Department of Justice worked with Indonesian prosecutors to enhance the prosecutorial capacity of the task force. In April, acting JI Emir Ustad Syahroni (aka Zarkasih) and senior JI operative Abu Dujana (aka Ainul Bahri), were sentenced to 15 years in prison each for violating the 2003 counterterrorism law. Zarkasih, as acting JI Emir, was one of the most senior JI leaders ever arrested. Dujana, also an Afghanistan-veteran and JI military leader, had been involved in several JI attacks. In addition to handing down the sentences, the judges said JI was a terrorist organization, laying the legal basis for the Indonesian government to ban JI in the future. In November, Abu Dujana testified on behalf of the prosecution in the terrorist trials of Dr. Argus Purwantoro and Abu Husna. Additionally, the Task Force successfully prosecuted 12 other JI members. The court sentenced five JI members for aiding and abetting Abu Dujana and Zarkasih to between seven and eight years of prison each. The court sentenced six other members of JI's military wing to eight to ten years each in prison. The Government of Indonesia formally charged the ten suspected terrorists who were arrested in July. The Attorney General's Terrorism and Transnational Crime Task Force led the prosecutions in the trials, which were being held in the Central Jakarta District Court. The AGO Task Force on Terrorism and Transnational Crime has successfully prosecuted 43 terrorists, including 26 JI members, since September 2006.

Other Indonesian legal institutions took a hard line against terrorists. In October, the Constitutional Court rejected a last-ditch appeal by the Bali bombers of their death sentences and upheld that death by firing squad was constitutional. Also in October, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights did not include sentence remissions for convicted terrorists in its annual Eid holiday remissions list.

In November, the Government of Indonesia executed three of the 2002 Bali bombers, Amrozi bin Nurhasym, Imam Samudra, and Ali Gufron (aka Mukhlas). The three had been convicted for planning and carrying out the October 2002 bombings in Bali, which killed over 200 people. There were no serious incidents following the executions, and the public reaction was calm, despite public calls by JI co-founder Abu Bakar Ba'asyir for retaliatory attacks.

The Indonesian government made genuine efforts to develop an effective anti-money laundering system for investigations and prosecutions in compliance with certain provisions in UNSCR 1267 and 1373. Indonesian police froze terrorists' financial assets uncovered during investigations. However, the Government of Indonesia had yet to demonstrate the political will to implement all requirements under UNSCR 1267. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation Report released in July noted that although Indonesia made significant progress in recent years with its implementation of anti-money laundering measures, relatively little implementation of countering terrorist finance measures has occurred.

USAID promoted capacity-building to the Financial Crimes Transaction and Analysis Center (PPATK) and related governmental agencies through its Financial Crimes Prevention Project (FCPP), a multi-year program, now concluded, which provided technical advisors and policy support to develop an effective and credible anti-money laundering and terrorist finance regime. FCPP assistance included the drafting of a National Anti-Money Laundering Strategy adopted by the President in 2007, to develop a comprehensive asset forfeiture law (that remained in progress), and certification of Indonesian government officials as anti-money-laundering specialists and fraud examiners. The number of Suspicious Transaction Reports received increased from 10 per month in 2002 to over 811 per month in 2008 (through October); these reports led to 19 prosecutions during the period. One had a terrorist component, and the strengthened financial oversight improved the tracking of potential terrorist financial transactions.

The INP continued its program to de-radicalize convicted terrorists. The program identified individuals who might be open to more moderate teachings and focused on providing spiritual support to the men and on providing modest financial support to their families. The program aimed to reduce terrorist recruitment inside prisons. Based on the success of the INP de-radicalization program, the Indonesian Department of Corrections also decided to undertake a prisoner de-radicalization program. The Directorate General for prisons proposed that the creation of a set of guidelines for the handling of terrorist prisoners would improve security and surveillance of the prisoners and encourage prisoners to not resort to violence to carry out their religious beliefs.

Though Indonesia's counterterrorism efforts have been impressive and its capacity to fight terrorism within its borders has improved steadily, continued vigilance is needed. The arrests in Palembang and North Jakarta demonstrated that militant networks remained partially intact and that groups continued to stockpile explosives for potential operations. Malaysian JI operative and recruiter Noordin Mohammed Top, who is suspected of involvement in every anti-Western terrorist attack in Indonesia since 2002, remained at large.

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