Jakarta — An Indonesian court has sentenced radical Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman to death by firing squad for inspiring his followers to commit a wave of terror attacks. Judge Ahmad Zaini handed down the death penalty at South Jakarta District Court on Friday. The cleric, also known as Oman Rochman, was on trial for ordering five terror attacks carried out by Islamic State-inspired militants known as JAD between 2016-17, including the 2016 Jakarta bombing.
Abdurrahman is considered JAD’s de facto leader. JAD or JAT, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid, is a splinter cell of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group responsible for the Bali bombing in 2002 and the attack on the Australian embassy in 2004. A statement from the panel of five judges said: “the defendant’s religious outreach inspired his followers to commit terrorism so the defendant must take responsibility.”
After the judgement, Abdurrahman immediately stood up, faced the rows of journalists sitting behind him and bowed his head down as if in gratitude. Armed guards quickly surrounded him to block cameras from capturing the gesture. His lawyer Asludin Hatjani told journalists: “we can translate that as being grateful.”
Abdurrahman then told the judge he did not accept nor reject the sentence. Mr Hatjani told the court they would consider what legal steps to take, though Abdurrahman waved his hand, apparently rejecting that statement. Judge Zaini said they have seven days to accept, reject or appeal the sentence.
In addition to the Jakarta bombing that killed four civilians, Abdurrahman was found guilty of masterminding a bus terminal bombing in Kampung Melayu, a church bombing that killed one child and burnt several in Samarinda, the stabbing of a police officer in Medan and the shooting of a police officer in Bima, all in 2017. Indonesian prosecutors had called for the death penalty in May.
Prosecutor Anita Dewayani, said at the time: “the defendant is legally and convincingly guilty and we demand the panel of judges to impose death sentence.” Friday’s sentence is the first death penalty in 13 years given in a terrorism case. The last was issued to Iwan Darmawan Muntho, also known as Rois, for his involvement in the Australian embassy bombing.