Daesh-linked militant in Indonesia gets 7 years in prison

Daesh-affiliated militant Zainal Anshori during his sentencing hearing at East Jakarta District Court in Jakarta on Monday, February 12. A court sentenced Anshori to seven years in prison for his involvement in smuggling guns from the southern Philippines. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018

Daesh-linked militant in Indonesia gets 7 years in prison

JAKARTA: A court sentenced the leader of an Daesh group-affiliated militant network in Indonesia to seven years in prison on Monday for involvement in smuggling guns from the southern Philippines.
Presiding Judge Siti Jamzanah said it was proven that Zainal Anshori “committed a criminal act of terrorism.” She said the 43-year-old, his brother Zainal Hasan, who on Monday was sentenced to five years prison, and another militant traveled to a town in northern Sulawesi closest to the Indonesian border with the southern Philippines to collect a cache of weapons including automatic rifles.
Court documents said Anshori also attempted to set up a jihadist training camp in eastern Indonesia.
Anshori was arrested in April, sparking a failed reprisal attack against police in East Java province which ended with six militants killed in a gunbattle.
The network Anshori led, Jamaah Anshorut Daulah, is believed responsible for a 2016 attack in Jakarta that killed eight people including the four attackers. The US last year designated it as a global terrorist organization.
Indonesia still faces a significant risk of terror attacks despite a sustained crackdown on militants following the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people. The crackdown reduced the Jemaah Islamiyah network behind the Bali bombings to remnants but a new generation of would-be jihadists has coalesced behind the Daesh banner. Though their capacity to launch large-scale attacks is limited, experts say it could be enhanced if Indonesians who fought with Daesh in Syria and Iraq return home.
Anshori, after a brief discussion with his lawyers, accepted the verdict and will not appeal, the lawyers said. He refused to comment to reporters.
Jamaah Anshorut Daulah is made up of about two dozen extremist groups and was conceived in prison by radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman, his cell mate Iwan Darmawan, also known as Rois, who is on death row for his role in a 2004 Australian Embassy car bombing in Jakarta, and four regular visitors including Anshori.
Anshori became leader in 2015 after two other founders joined Daesh in Syria.
Court documents said Anshori received $20,000 in cash to collect the rifles and pistols purchased by Mas’ud, a militant who was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week.
Anshori told the court that he failed to collect the weapons after his two followers changed their mind and returned home to Lamongan, an area in Java known as the hometown of several of the Bali bombers.


Malaysia’s police chief: Daesh fighters ‘must be allowed to come back’

Updated 32 sec ago

Malaysia’s police chief: Daesh fighters ‘must be allowed to come back’

  • Many Malaysians believe that the Daesh returnees will pose a threat to national security and should not be allowed to return
  • Malaysia claims that its deradicalization program is one of the most successful in the world — a model for the fight against terrorism and religious extremism

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government has still to decide whether a reported 40 Daesh members of Malaysian origin — including women and children — should be allowed to return to their homeland from Syria. But the Inspector-General of Police of Malaysia Abdul Hamid Bador told Arab News on Thursday, “They are Malaysians and the must be allowed to come back.”
Bador stressed that any returning Daesh members would be charged under Malaysia’s Security Offenses Act and would have to undergo the country’s deradicalization program. But while many Malaysians are opposed to allowing the hard-line militants to return home, Bador said, “As a sovereign nation, Malaysia must fulfill her international obligations. We will undertake the responsibility of subjecting all of them to our rehabilitation programs.”
At a press conference on Saturday, Malaysia’s Special Branch Anti-Terrorist Division principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said that Daesh returnees would undergo rehabilitation, which would include counseling for the children.
Many Malaysians believe that the Daesh returnees will pose a threat to national security and should not be allowed to return.
“In principle, they are the citizens (of Malaysia), so they have a right to come back,” Dr. James Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, told Arab News. “But, in having to fulfill that obligation, obviously the question arises whether or not they broke the law, and to what degree they pose a threat.”
Dorsey warned that “not all deradicalization programs are 100-percent effective,” but said he believed that rehabilitation would enable people to reenter society to some degree.
“The assumption is that they went to Syria to fight, so now that Syria is no longer available they are going to come home to fight. But we don’t know that for a fact,” he said. “That may be true for some, but not for others. It is really going to be a question of evaluating every single one. We need to deal with each of them differently. Sending them to rehabilitation might be one way to resolve this.”
“There are no magic tricks involved in the programs,” Bador said to Arab News. Their success, he said, depended on coordination between the police, the religious department, and prison officers. “We are also thankful that the prisoners themselves have the willpower to return to society,” he added.
Malaysia claims that its deradicalization program is one of the most successful in the world — a model for the fight against terrorism and religious extremism, in which religious institutions play an equally important role during the rehabilitation process.
“Malaysia prides itself to having achieved a 97 percent success rate which indicates that occurrences of recidivism are minimal,” said Muhammad Sinatra, an analyst at Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Studies.
He told Arab News that Daesh returnees would serve time in prison, and would —  along with the women and children — be enrolled in a month-long rehabilitation program by the government.
“The women and children must have suffered from witnessing horrendous violence and losing their loved ones during their time in Syria and Iraq,” Sinatra said. “This is on top of the physical toll that years spent in conflict zones will have taken. It will take a tremendous effort by psychologists and doctors to address the physical and mental issues these returnees face.”
Sinatra added that it is imperative that the government hear testimonies from current Daesh prisoners — or preferably those who have been released — about the effectiveness of the rehabilitation program in order to obtain a more holistic picture of its success.