JAKARTA (AP) – A court sentenced the leader of an Islamic State (IS) group-affiliated militant network in Indonesia to seven years in prison yesterday for involvement in smuggling guns from the southern Philippines.
Presiding Judge Siti Jamzanah said it was proven that Zainal Anshori “committed a criminal act of terrorism”. She said the 43-year-old, his brother Zainal Hasan, who yesterday was sentenced to five years prison, and another militant travelled to a town in northern Sulawesi closest to the Indonesian border with the southern Philippines to collect a cache of weapons including automatic rifles.
Court documents said Anshori also attempted to set up an extremist training camp in eastern Indonesia.
Anshori was arrested in April, sparking a failed reprisal attack against police in East Java province which ended with six militants killed in a gunbattle.
The network Anshori led, Jamaah Anshorut Daulah, is believed responsible for a 2016 attack in Jakarta that killed eight people including the four attackers. The US last year designated it as a global terrorist organisation.
Indonesia still faces a significant risk of terror attacks despite a sustained crackdown on militants following the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people. The crackdown reduced the Jemaah Islamiyah network behind the Bali bombings to remnants but a new generation of would-be extremists has coalesced behind the IS banner. Though their capacity to launch large-scale attacks is limited, experts said it could be enhanced if Indonesians who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq return home.
Anshori, after a brief discussion with his lawyers, accepted the verdict and will not appeal, the lawyers said. He refused to comment to reporters.
Jamaah Anshorut Daulah is made up of about two dozen extremist groups and was conceived in prison by radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman, his cell mate Iwan Darmawan, also known as Rois, who is on death row for his role in a 2004 Australian Embassy car bombing in Jakarta, and four regular visitors including Anshori.
Anshori became leader in 2015 after two other founders joined IS in Syria.
Court documents said Anshori received $20,000 in cash to collect the rifles and pistols purchased by Mas’ud, a militant who was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week.
Anshori told the court that he failed to collect the weapons after his two followers changed their mind and returned home to Lamongan, an area in Java known as the hometown of several of the Bali bombers.