Indonesia’s Daesh-linked cleric sentenced to death

Abdurrahman played a key role in the attacks by delivering sermons that inspired his followers to carry out fatal assaults. Reuters
Updated 22 June 2018
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Indonesia’s Daesh-linked cleric sentenced to death

  • In the January 2016 attack in central Jakarta, Abdurrahman’s followers detonated a bomb in a cafe and fired gunshots at policemen
  • Prosecutors had sought the death sentence against the JAD leader after Abdurrahman pleaded not guilty to the charges

JAKARTA: An Indonesian court on Friday sentenced the leader of a Daesh-affiliated group to death for urging followers to carry out a series of terror attacks across the country, including the 2016 raid in central Jakarta that left eight people, including four extremists, dead.

On hearing the verdict, the cleric, Aman Abdurrahman, leader of Jamaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD), turned to face journalists and got down on his knees as if to express gratitude for the death penalty.
Armed police formed a barricade to shield Abdurrahman as he made the gesture.
The presiding judge, Akhmad Zaini, said that Abdurrahman played a significant role in the attacks by delivering online sermons that inspired his followers to carry out fatal assaults.
“The defendant did not have to directly order, but he could convey (his messages) through his commandos. He only needed to provide his grounds for his followers so they were convinced to execute his orders,” Zaini said.
Other attacks included twin suicide bombings at a bus station in East Jakarta, police shootings in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, and the killing of a police officer in the North Sumatra police headquarters.
In the January 2016 attack in central Jakarta, Abdurrahman’s followers detonated a bomb in a cafe and fired gunshots at policemen.
“Abdurrahman has to take responsibility for his actions,” Zaini said.
Prosecutors had sought the death sentence against the JAD leader after Abdurrahman pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Police said that the militant group —  declared a terrorist organization by the US State Department in January 2017 — was behind the suicide bombings carried out by two families on three churches and a police headquarters in Surabaya, the provincial capital of East Java, in May.
Abdurrahman’s lawyer, Asludin Hatjani, said he would ask his client whether to file for appeal.
The cleric was seen waving his hand to say “no” to his lawyer after judges asked if they would appeal the verdict.
Hatjani said: “He told me before the hearing that he has let it all go and doesn’t want to appeal.”


Regional ‘burqa ban’ up for vote in Switzerland

Updated 5 min 29 sec ago
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Regional ‘burqa ban’ up for vote in Switzerland

  • Switzerland’s government last year opposed an initiative aimed at creating a nationwide burqa ban

GENEVA: A second Swiss canton will vote Sunday on whether to introduce a regional “burqa ban,” a controversial law that would prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces.
The ballot in northeastern St. Gallen is to be held as voters across the country also determine whether a moratorium on genetically modified crops should become a full-out ban.
St. Gallen is expected to follow the example of the southern canton of Ticino, where a law was introduced two years ago which appeared to be aimed at burqas and other Muslim veils.
A text stipulating that “any person who renders themselves unrecognizable by covering their face in a public space, and thus endangers public security or social and religious peace will be fined” was adopted by lawmakers in St. Gallen late last year.
That law passed the regional parliament with support from the populist right and center parties — but the issue is being put to the people after the Green Party and Young Socialists demanded a referendum.
The text, first drafted following uproar in the canton over a girl who wore a full-face veil to school, is problematic, according to Fredy Fassler, a socialist in charge of security and justice in St. Gallen.
It does not define when a woman wearing a burqa constitutes a danger, and critics “worry the sanctions will be unpredictable and arbitrary,” he told daily newspaper Le Temps.
Switzerland’s government last year opposed an initiative aimed at creating a nationwide burqa ban, saying it should be up to the regions to determine if such measures are appropriate.
All Swiss voters will eventually cast ballots on the issue after the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party gathered the 100,000 signatures needed to put any subject to a referendum as part of Switzerland’s famous direct democratic system.
At the national level, the Swiss will vote Sunday on two schemes linked to agriculture and food security, urging a shift toward more environmentally friendly and Swiss-based food production.
The “Fair Food” and “Food Sovereignty” initiatives appear set to fail and are opposed by the canton of Bern, which warns they could send prices skyrocketing and might violate Switzerland’s international trade obligations.
Stefan Legge, an international trade expert at the University of St. Gallen, agreed with the government’s opposition to the initiatives.
“The agricultural lobby is trying hard to isolate itself from the rest of the economy and international competition,” he said.
The “Food Sovereignty” initiative, which has the backing of Switzerland’s powerful farmers’ union, calls for a range of measures, including turning a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMO) into a total ban.
That moratorium was introduced after a 2005 referendum and has been extended three times to date. It is due to expire in 2021.
Polls indicate people widely oppose GMO use in the country, but despite early signs of support, the initiative looks doomed to fail, according to a survey published this month by the Tamedia group.
Observers put the initiative’s shrinking popularity down to another element baked into the text: the call for imports to be limited to food produced under the same social and environmental norms as those applicable in Switzerland.
“No serious analyst can say it is the GMO ban that is sinking the initiative,” Michelle Zufferey of the Uniterre union said.
She pointed out that the GMO aspect had barely been mentioned.
“It is the fake arguments about massive price hikes and a lack of choice and about efforts to isolate Switzerland that have hurt our initiative,” she insisted.
Swiss President Alain Berset himself warned in a recent interview with Le Temps that if the initiatives were to become law, it would “lead to a price hike.”
“For now, unfortunately, everyone cannot afford organic,” he said.
He also warned that “imposing Swiss standards on imported food goods would violate agreements reached with our trading partners as well as World Trade Organization rules.”