An Indonesian court sentenced al-Qaeda-related militants to 15 years in prison yesterday for his role in the 2002 bombing that killed more than 200 people on the resort island of Bali.
The explosion, which took place just over a year after the 9.11 attack on the United States, broke two bars full of foreign tourists and remains the most deadly and radical attack in Indonesia’s history.
Zulkarnaen, a senior member of the Jema Islamiya (JI) militant group, was on trial for the Bali bomb terrorism and several other attacks by special forces under his command.
He was “guilty of committing terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in prison,” said the judge of the East Jakarta District Court, supporting the militants and discussing the relationship between the attack and JI Cell. He was punished for hiding the information.
The 58-year-old Zulkarnen, whose real name was listed in court as Arif Sunarso, has been on Indonesia’s most desired list since the bombing and has evaded authorities for nearly 20 years until his arrest in December 2020. Zulkarnaen has set up a special JI cell and described him as the group’s “significant asset” from his experience as a trainer in radical camps in Afghanistan and Indonesia.
During the trial, Zulkarnaen denied involvement in the terrorist bombing of Bali, but admitted that they were done by his team. He told the court that JI operatives did not tell him about the attack in advance, and he was not involved in a particular plan. But the judge was not convinced.
“The fact that he was the leader of the team and agreed to the plan in Bali … it can be considered that he agreed to the plan,” said the presiding judge.
The court also flagged other attacks by Zulkarnaen’s cell under judgment, such as the 2000 attack on the Philippine embassy and a series of church bombings.
According to police, his troops were also tasked with inciting ethnic and religious violence on Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands, where thousands were killed between 1998 and 2002. The prosecution has called for life imprisonment and said it would appeal.
Zulkarnaen appeared in court via a video link under the rules of the coronavirus.
“My client accepted it because he was commuted to 15 years from life imprisonment,” said Kamsi, his lawyer who goes by one name like many Indonesians.
Zulkarnaen was one of JI’s top leaders founded by Indonesian militants exiled to Malaysia in the 1980s. The group has grown to include cells throughout Southeast Asia and has developed connections with international terrorist groups. It has been designated as a foreign terrorist group by several countries, including the United States and Australia, which lost 88 people in the bombing of Bali.
According to a UN Security Council sanctions entry for the Southeast Asian group, JI and al-Qaeda have a “common ideology” and “many members of the two organizations were trained or combated in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the late 1980s. Sharing experiences. Early 1990s. “
According to the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program, which provided up to $ 5 incentives, Zulkarnaen is one of Al Qaeda’s “Southeast Asian Pointmen” and “one of the few in Indonesia to have direct contact with the group.” was. Mn for him.
JI was mostly dismantled by Indonesian authorities after the Bali bomb terrorist incident, but the organization has been rebuilt. Its spiritual leader, Fire Brand preacher Abu Bakar Bashir, was released from prison last year after serving a sentence to fund extremist training.
Indonesia has suffered numerous terrorist attacks since the Bali bombing and is home to dozens of militant groups, including those loyal to the Islamic State (IS) group.
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/708275/Indonesian-militant-jailed-for-15-years-over-Bali- Indonesian militants were imprisoned for 15 years in a Bali bombing