An Indonesian court has disbanded Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), the country’s largest ISIL-linked group for “conducting terrorism” and affiliating itself with the foreign organisation.
JAD was involved in a deadly 2016 Jakarta attack and a wave of suicide bombings in May in the Asia Pacific nation’s second-biggest city Surabaya, according to authorities.
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Two families – including girls aged nine and 12 – blew themselves up at churches and a police station, killing 13 people.
Presiding Judge Aris Bawono Langgeng told the South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday that the network of almost two dozen groups is a “forbidden corporation”.
He said its activities and those of other organisations affiliated with it or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS) are banned.
“Herewith we declare [JAD] a forbidden organisation,” Langgeng said.
Senior JAD figure Zainal Anshori stood up and shouted “Allahu akbar” when the judge delivered the ruling in the heavily guarded courtroom in Jakarta, capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Its leader, Aman Abdurrahman, was sentenced to death last month for masterminding from his jail cell a string of deadly attacks including one on Jakarta in January 2016, that left four attackers and four civilians dead.
‘Set a precedent’
In 2008, Indonesia banned Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda affiliated network responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002.
The group was wiped out by a sustained crackdown by Indonesia’s counterterrorism police with the support of the United States and Australia, but a new threat has emerged in recent years inspired by ISIL attacks abroad.
The ban of JAD and recent changes to anti-terrorism laws will empower police to detain JAD sympathisers, experts say. Police have long complained of not being able to act against the group.
Prosecutors welcomed the decision and said it could set a precedent for disbanding other ISIL-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 believed to consist of some two dozen groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the US State Department, which last year listed it as a terror organisation.