April 9, 2018 / 9:08 AM / 6 months ago

Indonesia jails bus terminal bombing mastermind for nine years

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian court on Monday jailed the mastermind behind last year’s Islamic State-linked suicide bombings at a Jakarta bus terminal for nine years.

Kiki Muhamad Iqbal, convicted of masterminding suicide bombings at Jakarta's bus terminal in 2017, leaves the courtroom after his trial in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Kiki Muhamad Iqbal was convicted of organising the twin bombings, in which two men blew themselves up using pressure cookers packed with explosives and killed three police officers and injured 12 at Kampung Melayu bus terminal.

Kiki Muhamad Iqbal, convicted of masterminding suicide bombings at Jakarta's bus terminal in 2017, arrives to the courtroom during his trial in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

“We find the defendant guilty of planning (the act) and mobilising others to participate and sentence him to nine years in prison,” presiding judge Purwanto told the North Jakarta court.

The attack was the second in two years in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, which has grappled with a recent resurgence in radical activity inspired in part by the extremist Islamic State.

In January 2016, four Islamic State-linked militants mounted a gun-and-bomb attack at a busy intersection outside a Starbucks cafe in central Jakarta, killing themselves and four others.

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The mastermind of that attack, Aman Abdurrahman - said to be the ideological leader of Islamic State loyalists in Indonesia - is also on trial.

Iqbal’s lawyers had argued that even though their client and the bombers had attended the same mosque, they did not know each other. Iqbal was a preacher at the mosque.

On hearing Monday’s verdict, Iqbal - flanked by counter-terrorism police - told reporters the ruling was “unjust”.

Indonesia’s parliament is currently deliberating revisions to anti-terrorism laws that would broaden the definition of terrorism and give police the power to detain suspects without trial for longer.

The changes would allow police to arrest people for hate speech or for spreading radical content, as well as those taking part in paramilitary training or joining proscribed groups.

Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Nick Macfie

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