World

Men behind foiled Singapore attack jailed

The six Indonesians convicted for other offences

Six Indonesian militants arrested for planning to fire a rocket at Singapore's Marina Bay from Batam Island have been sentenced to between three and four years in jail for conspiracy to commit terrorism.

A panel of judges at a district court in Jakarta, led by District Judge Tarigan Muda Limbong, said yesterday that in spite of insufficient evidence to convict them for the plot to attack Singapore, the men were still guilty of other offences under Indonesia's anti-terror laws.

The alleged leader of the Batam terrorist cell, Gigih Rahmat Dewa, was jailed four years for harbouring two Uighurs whom he had helped escape to Indonesia from Malaysia. The other five from the group - Hadi Gusti Yanda, Tarmidzi, Eka Saputra, Trio Syafidro and Leonardo Hutajulu - will serve three years each for concealing information on terrorist activities.

Gigih, Hadi, Tarmidzi, Eka and Trio were rounded up on Aug 5 last year in Batam by Indonesia's counter-terrorism unit in connection with the plan to attack Singapore, while Leonardo was arrested the following month. All six were also charged in January with funding terrorists activities under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Gigih and his men denied all the charges when the trial began in February, but prosecutors also encountered difficulties producing witnesses to testify against the group, known as Katibah Gonggong Rebus, during subsequent hearings at the East Jakarta District Court.

Evidence indicated that Gigih and his men had pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), sometime in August 2015.

Gigih was also said to have ties to Bahrun Naim, an ISIS operative allegedly part of many other terror plots in Indonesia. Bahrun allegedly instructed him to set up a travel agency in Tanjung Pinang as a front to help generate revenue and launder money for their cause, as well as to help facilitate the travel of Muslim militants.

Police sources told The Straits Times that these activities were said to be funded by Bahrun who was placed on a US terrorist watchlist earlier this year.

According to the US Treasury Department, Bahrun had transferred nearly US$72,000 (S$99,340) "to an associate in Indonesia, purportedly to conduct attacks on his instructions". Prosecutors said during Gigih's hearing that a bank account used by some Indonesian militants with ties to ISIS was found in his name. Money drawn from the same account also funded terror plots in Indonesia, added the prosecutors.

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