World

Former maid planned Jakarta suicide attack

Indonesian who had worked in Singapore gets 7½ years in jail

JAKARTA: A Jakarta court has sentenced a female would-be suicide bomber to 7½ years in prison, prosecutors and her lawyer said, the first time a woman has been convicted in Indonesia for planning such an attack.

Dian Yulia Novi, 28, was arrested late last year on suspicion of plotting to blow herself up outside Jakarta's presidential palace during the changing of guard. She was arrested along with her husband Muhammad Nur Solikin.

Novi had worked in Singapore and Taiwan as a domestic helper. She was in Singapore in 2008 and 2009.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, has seen a surge in homegrown militancy inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and has grappled with a series of small-scale attacks in the past two years.

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year sentence for Novi, who they said received instructions to carry out the attack from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant believed to be fighting with ISIS in Syria.

"Her sentence was reduced because she admitted to her actions," Novi's lawyer Kamsi told Reuters yesterday.

He said the verdict was handed down by the East Jakarta District Court last Friday.

Judges delivered the verdict earlier than expected because Novi is pregnant and due to give birth early next month, her lawyer said. She is detained at a Jakarta area facility.

Her husband is on trial for the same plot.

Kamsi said Novi, who was believed to be radicalised through social media while employed as a domestic worker in Taiwan, did not intend to appeal her verdict.

Police said they had intercepted a letter that she intended to send to her parents stating her intention to carry out an act of terror. Later an unexploded bomb was found in a room the woman had rented in Bekasi, about an hour outside Jakarta. - REUTERS

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