Indonesian prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a life sentence for a prime terror suspect who eluded seize for 18 years and accused him of masterminding a sequence of lethal assaults on this planet’s most populous Muslim nation.
Aris Sumarsono, 58, whose actual title is Arif Sunarso however is healthier often called Zulkarnaen, sat impassively because the prosecution introduced the sentencing demand earlier than a panel of three judges in East Jakarta District Courtroom in a session that was held remotely as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
Police and prosecutors say Zulkarnaen is the previous army commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian militant group with ties to al-Qaida. The group is broadly blamed for assaults together with the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed 202 folks, largely international vacationers, in addition to assaults within the Philippines.
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Zulkarnaen had eluded seize for 18 years after being named a suspect within the October 2002 suicide bombings of Paddy’s Pub and the Sari Membership in Bali. He was arrested final 12 months in Lampung, a province on the southern tip of Sumatra. Police have been tipped off to his hideout after interrogating a number of suspected militants arrested in earlier raids.
Zulkarnaen argued that he was a frontrunner of the community’s army wing however was not concerned within the operation of the Bali bombings, as he was targeted on organizing his squad for sectarian conflicts in Ambon and Poso and within the southern Philippines.
Throughout his trial, which started in September, different convicted militants within the 2002 Bali bombings, together with Umar Patek and Ali Imron, who have been sentenced to twenty years and life in jail, respectively, supported Zulkarnaen’s declare, saying he knew in regards to the plot however didn’t play a job in its operation.
The sentencing demand was initially scheduled for Nov. 24 however was postponed a number of occasions.
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State prosecutor Agus Tri instructed the court docket that Zulkarnaen’s acts had resulted in deaths and accidents and that there was no purpose for leniency.
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“The defendant was concerned within the Bali bombings plan,” he instructed the court docket. “He additionally instructed his group’s particular forces led by him to save lots of Jemaah Islamiyah’s property, together with weapons and explosives.”
Police beforehand mentioned Zulkarnaen masterminded church assaults that occurred concurrently in lots of Indonesian areas on Christmas and New Yr’s Eve in 2000 that killed greater than 20 folks. He was additionally the mastermind of a bomb assault on the official residence of the Philippine ambassador in Jakarta in 2000 that killed two folks, and the architect of sectarian battle in Ambon and Poso from 1998 to 2000.
Conflicts between Christians and Muslims in Ambon, the provincial capital of the Molluca islands, left greater than 5,000 folks lifeless and half one million displaced. The Muslim-Christian battle in Poso, often called a hotbed of Islamic militancy on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, killed no less than 1,000 folks from 1998 to 2002.
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Zulkarnaen, a biologist who was among the many first Indonesian militants to go to Afghanistan within the Eighties for coaching, was an teacher at a army academy there for seven years, Indonesian police mentioned.
Since Could 2005, Zulkarnaen has been listed on an al-Qaida sanctions record by the U.N. Safety Council for being related to Osama bin Laden or the Taliban.
The Safety Council mentioned that Zulkarnaen, who grew to become an knowledgeable in sabotage, was one in all al-Qaida’s representatives in Southeast Asia and one of many few folks in Indonesia who had had direct contact with bin Laden’s community.
It mentioned that Zulkarnaen led a squad of fighters often called the Laskar Khos, or Particular Pressure, whose members have been recruited from amongst some 300 Indonesians who educated in Afghanistan and the Philippines.
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Zulkarnaen was appointed the pinnacle of Camp Saddah, a army academy within the southern Philippines established for fighters from Southeast Asia, the Safety Council mentioned. He spent a decade on the camp coaching different Jemaah Islamiyah members.
He grew to become operations chief for Jemaah Islamiyah after the arrest of his predecessor, Encep Nurjaman, often known as Hambali, in Thailand in 2003.
The USA’ “Rewards for Justice” program had supplied a bounty of as much as $5 million for his seize. He was the one Indonesian on the record.
Zulkarnaen’s subsequent listening to is ready for Jan. 12, when he and his legal professionals will reply to the prosecution.
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