An Indonesian court on Tuesday banned a militant group blamed for a series of Islamic State-linked attacks in the country, including the nation’s first suicide bombings involving children.
Judges at South Jakarta District Court declared Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) “an outlawed organization” after ruling that it was affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) – the first time in a decade that Indonesia has prosecuted a terror group.
“Our decision conforms with the request of the prosecutor to declare JAD guilty of terrorist acts,” presiding judge Aris Bawono Langgeng said.
The verdict would make it easier for law enforcement officials in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation to arrest suspects connected to the organization or to prosecute other terror groups, analysts said.
JAD militants carried out a series of attacks in the country between 2014 and 2018, including one that killed four victims in January 2016 in Jakarta. The Jakarta attack was the first terror strike claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.
Terrorism analyst Adhe Bhakti told BenarNews the court’s action was an important milestone in the country’s fight against terrorism.
“It has become a precedent. Any group that is affiliated to Islamic State can be brought to court,” Adhe said. “There’s a legal basis to prosecute other terrorist organizations.”
Muh Taufiqurrohman, a Jakarta-based analyst at the Center for Radicalism and De-radicalization Studies, told the Wall Street Journal that he expected arrests to number “in the hundreds.”
“We should expect to see massive arrests in the coming weeks, particularly of those having participated in paramilitary trainings organized by JAD leaders,” he said.
JAD became the second organization to be outlawed by an Indonesian court since 2008, when authorities banned Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), the group blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
National police spokesman Senior Commissioner Yusri Yunus, declined to comment on the verdict.
JAD was founded in 2014 by Aman Abdurrahman, who was sentenced to death in June for his role in the attacks, according to witness testimony during the trial.
The United States in January 2017 classified JAD as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and tagged Aman as de facto IS leader in Indonesia.
Police also said JAD was behind suicide attacks carried out by two families on three churches and a police headquarters in Surabaya in May that killed 14 bystanders.
National police chief General Tito Karnavian on Monday said counter-terrorism police arrested more than 220 suspected militants linked to the Surabaya attacks and killed 21 others.