JAKARTA — A court in Indonesia disbanded Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), the country’s largest Islamic State-linked group, on Tuesday (Jul 31) for “conducting terrorism” and affiliating itself with the militant organisation.
Judge Aris Bawono Langgeng delivered the verdict in a heavily guarded South Jakarta court in the capital of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. “Herewith we declare [JAD] a forbidden organisation,” said the lead judge.
JAD, a loose grouping of Islamic State sympathisers, has thousands of followers in Indonesia. Its leader, Aman Abdurrahman, was sentenced to death last month for masterminding from his jail cell a string of deadly militant attacks.
The group was involved in a deadly 2016 Jakarta attack and a wave of suicide bombings in May in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya, according to authorities. Two families – including girls aged nine and 12 – blew themselves up at churches and a police station, killing 13.
Indonesia has banned just one other radical Islamic group, Jemaah Islamiyah, in 2008 because it was found guilty of committing terrorist acts. The ruling will beef up police powers to go after JAD, which has been connected to a series of other plots in Indonesia, including a firebomb attack on a church that killed a toddler and a plan to launch a Christmas-time suicide bombing.
Prosecutors welcomed the decision and said it could set a precedent for disbanding other Islamic State-affiliated organisations in Indonesia. Asludin Hatjani, a lawyer representing the group, said he would not appeal, but had previously protested that banning the group would allow police to arrest alleged members who had not committed an act of terrorism.
Formed in 2015, JAD is thought to be composed of some two dozen Indonesian groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the US State Department, which last year designated it as an extremist network.