Asia Pacific

Indonesia bans JAD, the ISIS-linked group behind deadly May attacks

An Indonesian court has banned an extremist network linked to a series of deadly terror attacks, significantly expanding police powers to charge members and freeze funding.

Jamaah Anshar Daulah, also transliterated as Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, is an Islamic State-linked group linked to a deadly attack in the capital, Jakarta, in 2016 and a wave of suicide bombings in May in Indonesia’s second-largest city Surabaya, according to authorities.

“Herewith we declare [JAD] a forbidden organization,” lead judge Aris Bawono Langgeng said at South Jakarta district court on Tuesday, July 31.

On May 13, a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks perpetrated by a single family struck three churches in Surabaya killing more than a dozen people, and the following day a family carried out a suicide bomb attack on a police headquarters in Surabaya.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has banned just one other radical Islamic group. In 2008, Jemaah Islamiyah was proscribed after it was found guilty of committing terrorist acts.

The ruling will bolster 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 Christmas-time suicide bombing plan.

Prosecutors welcomed the decision and said it could set a precedent for disbanding other ISIS-affiliated organizations in Indonesia.

Asludin Hatjani, a lawyer representing JAD, 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.

The U.S. Department of State designated JAD as a terrorist group in 2017, saying it is comprised of almost two dozen extremist groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

However, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict suggested in a 2016 report that JAD, which translates as “Partisans of the State Group,” is “in fact a generic term used for any supporter of ISIS,” and it functions more as an umbrella organization than a coherent group.

The group’s spiritual leader Aman Abdurrahman was sentenced to death last month for his role in an attack in Jakarta on January 14, 2016, that left four attackers and four civilians dead, and was the first assault claimed by ISIS in Southeast Asia.

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.

A shortcut to heaven: How women and children became suicide bombers in Indonesia

With reporting from AFP

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