Weekly Synopsis 18th June 2011
This week, 72 year old Islamic Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was sentenced to 15 years jail for terrorism related offences. He is the spiritual leader of the South Asia terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid. His ranting sermons have inspired many followers to commit acts of terrorism.
This brings to a head 30 years of failed trials and a miniscule sentence handed down during the long career of the smiling, defiant Cleric. Prosecution Lawyer, Andi Muhamad Taufik has advised that his office will launch a High Court appeal. He stated that the 15 year sentence is not enough and the prosecution had sought either life in prison or the death penalty.
Bashir was accused of seven counts of terrorism related to a paramilitary training camp in Aceh that was discovered in February 2010. The charges include planning and/or inciting a terrorist act, and trafficking in weapons and explosives for the purpose of conducting terrorism, both of which carry a maximum penalty of death. The prosecution had called over 130 witnesses during the trial and presented the strongest evidence for charges of supplying funds for terrorism, which carries a jail term of between 3 and 15 years.
At the start of the trial at the South Jakarta Courthouse in March this year, Bashir admitted to setting up a Jihadi training camp in the Sharia-ruled Aceh province. He stated that it was in order to “follow orders from Allah that Muslims perform and prepare for armed conflict so as to cause fear among the enemies of Islam, so they don’t disturb Muslims.” During the trial, Bashir staged two ‘walk-outs’ and at one point refused to attend court. This was in response to prosecution witnesses appearing via teleconference. Bashir at this time stated that attending court was ‘haram’ (forbidden) and that he was scared of Allah. Bashir’s Lawyer, Achmad Michdan stated that the charges leveled against his client were without substance as Indonesia has no law banning this type of training.
Bashir said that the camp was based on Sharia and was implemented as a result of Islamic teachings and challenging this implementation and banning Sharia would mean that the Government would be in effect banning Islam. He also said the he was being tried for defending Islam and that this was a trial by the ‘thagut’ (non-believer), who have no jurisdiction over Allah’s word. Approximately 91 percent of people in Indonesia are adherents to Islam. That equates to 208 million people and makes Indonesia the most populous Islamic nation on earth.
Prior to the verdict being delivered, Jakarta Metropolitan Police chief Inspector General Sutarman had said that the Judges in the trial had received death threats via text messages. Over 3,400 Police Officers and snipers guarded the Court building against any attacks from Bashir’s supporters.
The Jakarta Globe this week reported that they had received a text message that said: “Assalamualaikum. To the lions of tauhid in Indonesia, prepare your mental and physique for a global jihad to be conducted at the South Jakarta district court on June 16, 2011. We have installed 36 explosives all over Indonesia and they will set off by the time the presiding judge delivers verdict for Abu Bakar Bashir. “
On the pronouncement of sentence, screams of “Allahu Akbar” or “Our God is greater” were heard. Bashir read a prayer and again told the court that he is a holy warrior defending Islam against enemies including the United States, Australia and their allies. He also warned the Judge that he had made an enemy of Islam.
The most notable of the attacks Bashir had a hand in would be the Bali bombing of 2002, where over 200 people including 88 Australians lost their lives, in the deadliest terrorism attack in Indonesia’s history. Two large bombs were detonated in the popular tourist precinct in Kuta. One bomb came from a suicide bomber wearing a back-pack and was detonated at Paddy’s Pub. The second was a larger bomb assembled into a Mitsubishi van that was remotely detonated. A third, much smaller bomb was remotely detonated outside of the US embassy in Denpassar, though the damage was minor and caused no casualties.
Bashir and other members of Jemaah Islamiyah were arrested. Two members that were sentenced to death had attended a boarding school Bashir founded in 1972. Bashir had claimed that he had no prior knowledge of the attack and he did not endorse it, nor did he have any direct involvement. This created large holes in the prosecutions case and subsequently he was only convicted to serve two and a half years. He only served 18 months and was later cleared of any involvement. He was also unsuccessfully prosecuted with involvement in the bombings of churches across Indonesia in 2000 and the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003.
The Herald-Sun reported: International Crisis Group analyst Sidney Jones said it was not the end of the Bashir story. “I think the officials need to ensure that he does not lead a regular praying session from inside,” she told Agence France-Presse. “He’s got to be treated like a high-risk individual rather than a celebrity. The challenge is to keep him from contact with other inmates who could be affected by his preaching.”
Vin Ienco, 18th June 2011.
Sgt. Mark A. Bradley, 25, of Cuba, New York, died June 16, 2011.
Pvt. Ryan J. Larson, 19, of Friendship, Wisconsin, died June 15, 2011.
Pfc. Eric D. Soufrine, 20, of Woodbridge, Connecticut, died June 14, 2011.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Katzenberger, 26, of Weatherby Lake, Missouri, died June 14, 2011.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas P. Bellard, 26, of El Paso, Texas, died June 13, 2011.
Sgt. Glenn M. Sewell, 23, of Live Oak, Texas, died June 13, 2011.
Lance Cpl. Sean M. N. O’Connor, 22, of Douglas, Wyoming, died June 12, 2011.
Lance Cpl. Joshua B. McDaniels, 21, of Dublin, Ohio, died June 12, 2011.
Capt. Michael W. Newton, 30, of Newport News, Virginia, died June 11, 2011.
Lance Cpl. Jason D. Hill, 20, of Poway, California, died June 11, 2011.
Vin Ienco is a Commentator and Analyst on the effects of Global Islamism and a vocal opponent of Sharia Law.
Included in Vin’s Weekly Synopsis at his site are News Links from the past week as well as an absolute treasure trove of resources including videos, books, and articles from around the world.
I would like to give a special note of thanks to the amazing Erin Fiora, who selflessly assists me in the production of this note.–Vin