A former high-ranking civil servant from Batam could face life in prison if convicted of terrorism charges linked to his 2015 pilgrimage with his family to Syria, where he allegedly trained with the Islamic State (IS), prosecutors said Tuesday.
Dwi Djoko Wiwoho, 50, is standing trial in a West Jakarta court for allegedly undergoing firearms training with IS and funding the international militant group. Two relatives also face trials on similar charges.
Djoko, his wife and children and their relatives went through the government’s weeks-long de-radicalization programs to help them re-enter Indonesian society after their return in August 2017.
Despite those efforts, the three men face separate trials in the same courthouse. The prosecutor began his case against Djoko on Tuesday by reading the criminal indictment.
“The defendant sold his house on July 2015 for 500 million rupiah (U.S. $36,372) and used part of that money to go to Syria,” prosecutor Jaya Siahaan said.
“After five days, the defendant stopped training because he didn’t want to be a soldier and only wanted to be a regular civilian who supports IS,” the prosecutor said. “But the defendant’s action violated the anti-terrorism law.”
Djoko, who did not speak as the indictment was read against him, tilted his head during the session. The case will resume next Tuesday with witness testimony.
The prosecutor said Djoko’s brother-in-law, Iman Santoso, provoked the pilgrimage by delivering sermons on the obligation of jihad during family Quran recitations in Pancoran, South Jakarta.
“The defendant alongside his family agreed to go to Syria to join IS,” Jaya said.
Iman allegedly facilitated travel arrangements for the group of 26 and found a local guide in Syria.
Djoko went to Syria with his wife, Ratna Nirmala, and three children along with his mother-in-law who died in Iraq. Iman and his brother, Heru Kurnia, also made the trip, leaving on Aug. 1, 2015, and remaining in Syria for almost two years.
Iman and Heru face similar charges in the same courthouse.
Return to Indonesia
Djoko and his family reportedly left the former IS capital Raqqa, Syria, in mid-June 2017. They said they were held in a Syrian refugee camp before being sent back to Indonesia.
After returning, the group underwent the Indonesian Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) repatriation program. They testified about their their time in Syria for a video posted Sept. 11, 2017, on BNPT’s YouTube page.
In the video, Djoko and the others spoke of their regret in joining IS because that group lied to them and broke promises that their children would be educated in decent schools.
Instead, IS fighters wanted to marry his daughters, Djoko said.
“They asked when my youngest daughter would have her first period. They wanted me to notify them, “ Djoko stated in the video.
Adhe Bhakti, a researcher at the Center for Radicalism and Deradicalization Studies, an independent think-tank in Jakarta, said the trials are a result of issues between BNPT and Densus 88, the nation’s elite police force that arrested the three men.
“The fact that Djoko was arrested after he ‘graduated’ from the BNPT de-radicalization center points out coordination problems,” Adhe said.
BNPT spokesman Irfan Idris told BenarNews that attendance at the de-radicalization center was for psychological assistance following a horrifying experience with IS.
“They haven’t been convicted,” he said, referring to the defendants. “De-radicalization will be conducted after they are convicted or released."