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Indonesian Court Sentences Woman for Aiding Militants During Prison Riot

Arie Firdaus
Jakarta
2019-02-06
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Indonesian police secure the compound of the Mobile Brigade in Depok, West Java, after dozens of imprisoned militants took over the detention facility, May 10, 2018.
Indonesian police secure the compound of the Mobile Brigade in Depok, West Java, after dozens of imprisoned militants took over the detention facility, May 10, 2018.
AP

An Indonesian court on Wednesday sentenced an 18-year-old woman and suspected Islamic State (IS) sympathizer to two years and eight months in jail after finding her guilty of “aiding an act of terrorism” during a deadly prison riot last year.

Defendant Dita Siska Millenia was arrested in May along with another woman, Siska Nur Azizah, after convicted terrorist-inmates began rioting inside a detention facility at the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) police headquarters near Jakarta. Police apprehended the two women while they were in a mosque to pray near the detention center.

Five officers and an inmate died in the 40-hour standoff, which ended on May 10.

Dita was found guilty of “a criminal conspiracy and aiding an act of terrorism,” Jootje Sampaleng, the chief judge at the North Jakarta District Court, said as he convicted and sentenced her.

Prosecutors said Dita and Siska, 21, went to the location to help “their brothers” who were involved in the riot. Police seized a pair of scissors from Siska, who was standing trial separately. Prosecutors said the two women planned to attack police officers by stabbing them with sharp steel scissors.

A man was also shot dead outside the Brimob headquarters on May 10 after he stabbed an officer who was guarding a post, according to authorities.

Prosecutors had sought a jail sentence of 3 ½ years for Dita, who had labeled the charges against her as fabricated.

Dita told the court that she had no plan to attack the police, saying she had gone to the location because she was “curious.”

According to the indictment, Dita had pledged allegiance in 2016 to Islamic State (IS) extremist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at her own volition.

The prosecution also said she became radicalized after reading pro-Islamic State materials on the internet, including a book written by Indonesian IS-linked militant ideologue Aman Abdurrahman.

In June 2018, a Jakarta court sentenced Aman to death after convicting him over his role in a series of attacks in recent years.

These attacks included a suicide mission that left eight people dead, including four gunmen, in central Jakarta on Jan. 14, 2016. That attack was the first one claimed on Indonesian soil by IS.

In August 2017, Indonesia sentenced a would-be suicide bomber to 7 ½ years in prison, handing down what was believed to be the nation’s harshest sentence against a female terrorist.

The East Jakarta Court then found Dian Yulia Novi, 28, guilty of malicious conspiracy and attempted criminal acts of terrorism. Authorities arrested her on Dec. 10, 2016, disrupting her plan to blow herself up outside Jakarta’s State Palace during a changing of the guard ceremony the next day.

Police said investigators found an unexploded pressure-cooker bomb in the rented room where Dian was arrested in the West Java city of Bekasi, about an hour from Jakarta.

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