Indonesian court set to pass verdict on radical cleric suspected of masterminding 2016 attack in Jakarta that killed eight

Jakarta: An Indonesian court is set to decide on Saturday whether to sentence a radical cleric to death for his role in a 2016 terror attack that was the first claimed by the Islamic State group in Southeast Asia.

Aman Abdurrahman is suspected of masterminding the gun and suicide attack in downtown Jakarta which left four attackers and four civilians dead. The assault in the capital saw dramatic scenes as a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Starbucks while security forces battled gun-toting militants.

In May, prosecutors demanded that Abdurrahman be executed for the attack.

Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman is escorted by the police to Jakarta court. AP

Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman is escorted by the police to Jakarta court. AP

Abdurrahman — considered the de facto head of all Islamic State supporters in Indonesia — is also the spiritual leader of local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). Authorities said JAD was behind the 2016 attack and a wave of suicide bombings in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya in May.

Two families — including girls aged nine and 12 — blew themselves up at churches and a police station, killing 13. All had ties to JAD, the father of the church suicide bombers identified as a local leader in the group.

Authorities have not charged Abdurrahman, who is in jail on a separate terror conviction, over the Surabaya attacks. Despite being in jail since 2010, Abdurrahman has recruited militants to join Islamic State, is thought to have been in communication with leaders of the jihadist group, and is the main translator for IS propaganda in Indonesia, according to analysts and authorities.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, has long struggled with Islamic militancy, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people — mostly foreign tourists — in the country's worst-ever terror attack.

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Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 09:59:42 IST

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