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Indonesia: IS Sympathizer Gets Life Sentence for Toddler’s Death in Church Attack

Arie Firdaus
Jakarta
2017-09-25
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Jo bin Muhammad Aceng Kurnia (alias Juhanda), a defendant in a church attack that killed one child last year, smiles after receiving a life sentence from the East Jakarta District Court, Sept. 25, 2017.
Jo bin Muhammad Aceng Kurnia (alias Juhanda), a defendant in a church attack that killed one child last year, smiles after receiving a life sentence from the East Jakarta District Court, Sept. 25, 2017.
Arie Firdaus/BenarNews

An Indonesian militant linked to the Islamic State (IS) group smiled after a court in Jakarta sentenced him on Monday to life in prison for a church attack that killed a toddler and injured three other children last year.

Jo bin Muhammad Aceng Kurnia (alias Juhanda) threw a Molotov cocktail at Oikumene Church in Samarinda, capital city of East Kalimantan province, in November 2016, killing toddler Intan Olivia Banjarnahor, and injuring three other children.

Surung Simanjuntak, presiding judge of East Jakarta District Court, emphasized the defendant’s lack of remorse and previous conviction.

“What’s incriminating is that defendant (Juhanda) does not regret his action, and he was a former prisoner convicted for ‘book-bombs’ terror,” the judge said Monday, referring to a terror attack in 2011 where explosive devices hidden in books were delivered through the mail to activists.

“The defendant deliberately attacked the church, although he knew there were many children in the churchyard,” the judge said.

Juhanda, 32, was convicted in 2011 for terrorism offenses, but was paroled in July 2014, police said.

Police said Juhanda learned bomb-making techniques in Aceh from the group led by Dulmatin, a senior figure in the militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and one of Southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorist until he was killed in a police raid in March 2010.

The judge ruled Juanda was guilty of violating Indonesia’s anti-terror law.

“The explosion also damaged several motorbikes and caused casualties, one of them is the (death of) a 2½-year-old toddler, so the criminal act as indicted is fulfilled legally and convincingly,” Simanjuntak said.

The sentence matches the prison term sought by prosecutors.

“We are satisfied,” prosecutor Yuhana Nurhisyam said.

Juhanda’s attorney, Tri Saupa Angkawijaya, said he would consider whether to appeal or accept the sentence.

“I’ll think about it, we will discuss it with the team,” he said.

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Four of the defendants in the Samarinda Church attack case – (from left) Rahmad, Ahmad Dani, Joko Sugito and Supriyadi – leave the East Jakarta District Court, Sept. 25, 2017. [Arie Firdaus/BenarNews]

Co-conspirators sentenced

In a separate trial, Simanjuntak also sentenced four co-conspirators who were arrested on the same day with Juhanda, not long after he attacked the church on Nov. 13, 2016.

The four men, Supriyadi, Ahmad Dani, Rahmad and Joko Sugito, together with Juhanda, had pledged to IS and discussed about their terror plan in a mosque in Samarinda, according to a document read in court.

The four men received prison terms ranging from six to seven years. The verdicts were lighter than what the prosecutors sought.

Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim-majority population, has been wracked by terror attacks targeting police and houses of worship since the 1970s, but none have caused major casualty figures.

But a bomb attack on Oct. 12, 2002, killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, in the tourist district of Kuta on the island of Bali.

Last year, at least 160 people with alleged ties to IS were arrested in Indonesia, according to National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian.

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