Indonesia bans local IS-affiliated group JAD

By Agency Published on Jul 31, 2018 04:00 PM IST

Jakarta: An Indonesian court today banned a local extremist network responsible for a series of deadly terror attacks on home soil, significantly expanding police powers to charge members and freeze funding.

Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS), was involved in a deadly 2016 Jakarta attack and a wave of suicide bombings in May in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya, according to authorities.

Two families - including girls aged nine and 12 - blew themselves up at churches and a police station, killing 13. "Herewith we declare [JAD] a forbidden organisation," lead judge Aris Bawono Langgeng said at South Jakarta district court.

Indonesia had banned one other radical Islamic group, Jemaah Islamiyah, in 2008 because it was found guilty of committing terrorist acts. The ruling will beef up police powers to go after JAD, which has been connected to a series of other plots in Indonesia, including a firebomb attack on a church that killed a toddler and a plan to launch a Christmas-time suicide bombing.

Prosecutors welcomed the decision and said it could set a precedent for disbanding other IS-affiliated organisations in Indonesia. Asludin Hatjani, a lawyer representing the group, said he would not appeal, but had previously protested that banning the group would allow police to arrest alleged members who had not committed an act of terrorism.

Formed in 2015, JAD is thought to be composed of some two dozen Indonesian groups that have pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the US State Department, which last year designated it as an extremist network.

The group's spiritual leader Aman Abdurrahman was sentenced to death last month for his role in the Jakarta terror attack on January 14, 2016, that left four attackers and four civilians dead.

A court indictment seen by AFP named Zainal Anshori as the group's current "Emir," or leader, in Indonesia. The 44-year-old leader of JAD operations in East Java was jailed for seven years in 2017 over a botched gun-running operation from the Philippines to Indonesia.