IS-linked cleric on trial for 2016 Jakarta attack

Jakarta, Feb 15 (IANS) An alleged ideologue of terror organisation Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, linked to the Islamic State, went on trial on Thursday for his involvement in the 2016 attack in the Indonesian capital.

Cleric Oman Rohman, popularly known as Aman Abdurrahman, was one of the founders of the organisation which has been the most active radical Islamist group in Indonesia in the last two years, Efe news reported.

The 2016 attack in Jakarta was carried out close to a shopping mall. Eight people, including the four attackers, were killed and over 20 people were injured.

The accused appeared for the first hearing with a court-appointed lawyer after he refused to appoint one to defend himself. The court in the southern district of Jakarta can hand him a death penalty.

Abdurrahman has already served several sentences for terrorist activities, including a 9-year prison term for running a training camp for militants in Aceh, the Indonesian province situated on the island of Sumatra.

The cleric, who swore loyalty to the IS from prison, should have been released in August 2017 but was put in preventive detention as a suspect in the 2016 attack and other cases.

Sidney Jones, Director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, told Efe that the result of the trial could depend on the testimony provided by Zainal Anshori, operational leader of the JAD, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday.

JAD was established in 2015 and in January 2017 the US State Department designated it as a global terrorist group.

Jones said that JAD cells started acting independently after the 2017 arrest of Anshori and other important leaders of the organisation.

Indonesia has witnessed several Islamist attacks, including one on the islands of Bali in 2002 that had left 202 dead, mostly foreign tourists.

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