Islamist Cleric Arrested for 2016 Sarinah Attack Days Before Prison Release


Police announced on Friday (18/08) the arrest  of an influential Islamist cleric for his alleged involvement in last year’s terrorist attack in Central Jakarta.

Aman Abdurrahman was arrested at Nusakambangan Prison in Cilacap district, Central Java, four days before his early release after having received a sentence remission on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of Indonesia’s independence. He already served seven years of his original nine-year prison term for his involvement in a militant training camp in the jungles of Aceh.

Police said counterterrorism officers took Aman to the headquarters of the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) in Depok, West Java, for interrogation.

“We’ll see later if he has indeed been directly involved or had provided any support,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said, referring to the coordinated attacks near the Sarinah shopping mall on Jalan M. H. Thamrin in downtown Jakarta in January 2016.

Eight people, including the four perpetrators, died and 23 others were injured in the attack – the biggest in the more than 18 preceding months, which were marked by a string of mostly low-level Islamic State-inspired attacks in several parts of Indonesia.

Police have linked some of those attacks to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, believed to be led by Aman. The organization consists of hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers across the archipelago, operating in small terrorist cells.

Security officials also allege that Aman was widely spreading the practice of takfir, or the excommunication of believers, used by Islamists to falsely accuse others of apostasy to justify violence against them.

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