Indonesia Convicts Fourth Uyghur Man in Terror Trial

By Arie Firdaus
2015.07.29
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150729_ID_UYGHURS_620 Ahmet Bozoglan (in orange) listens to the judge at North Jakarta District Court, July 29, 2015.
BenarNews

A panel of Indonesian judges on Wednesday sentenced a Uyghur man to six years in prison after finding him guilty of leading a group of Uyghurs in trying to join a local terrorist group that had declared allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).

In handing down its sentence, the panel at North Jakarta District Court also fined defendant Ahmed Bozoglan 100 million rupiah (U.S. $7,418).

“Using a false passport, the defendant entered Indonesia with the goal of joining the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) led by Santoso,” presiding judge Houtman Lumbang Tobing said as he read out the ruling.

According to the judge, evidence presented in court had proved that Ahmet embraced the vision and mission of IS.

“He was caught uploading allegiance videos from Syria via YouTube social media,” Houtman said.

Security was tight at Wednesday’s court session, and Ahmet Bozoglan was escorted handcuffed into the building by four armed policemen.

His sentence was identical to that handed down July 13 to his three compatriots – Ahmet Mahmud, Abdul Basit and Altinci Bayram – who were arrested at the same time and found guilty of the same charges, in a separate trial.

All four were arrested in Central Sulawesi last September, while en route to join up with the MIT in a remote area of Poso Regency, prosecutors said.

Attorneys React

Prosecutor Nana Riana said she was satisfied with the verdict, although the sentence was two years shorter than what she had requested.

"I appreciate the verdict of the panel of judges,” Nana said after the court session.

“This verdict at least can discourage other foreigners who want to join terrorist groups in Indonesia,” she said.

Defense attorney Asludin Hatjani said he would consult with the Turkish embassy about whether to appeal Wednesday’s verdict and sentence.

“After that meeting, a decision about Ahmet’s next legal steps will be made,” Asludin told BenarNews. He could not say when such a meeting would take place.

On July 15, Asludin had lodged an appeal for the other three Uyghurs.

In an earlier phase of the trial, Turkish officials in Jakarta had declined Ahmet Bozoglan’s appeal for legal aid.

His citizenship remains unclear. All four Uyghurs claim they are Turkish citizens, and not from China. When asked in court to sing the Turkish national anthem, they could not do so.

Before the trial opened, the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) indicated that Indonesia might extradite the four men to China.

Uyghur activists say China has trumped up allegations of “Uyghur terrorism” to justify repression against the Muslim minority in Xinjiang province, in western China, where many Uyghurs live.

“Going forward, their citizenship status may influence the extradition agreement between Indonesian officials and the government of Turkey or China,” Nana told BenarNews earlier this month.

“If they are not Turkish citizens, possibly the court will destroy their passports,” she said.

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