Leader of Indonesia attack plot gets 11 years in prison

Indonesian militant Muhammad Nur Solikin looks on after he was sentenced to 11 years jail in a Jakarta court on Wednesday for orchestrating a plot inspired by the Daesh group to stage a suicide bomb attack on the presidential palace. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2017

Leader of Indonesia attack plot gets 11 years in prison

JAKARTA: An Indonesian militant linked to the Daesh group smiled and raised one finger toward the sky after a court on Wednesday sentenced him to 11 years in prison for leading a plot to attack a presidential guard-changing ceremony in Jakarta.
At the same sentencing hearing, a co-conspirator, who received six years in prison, shook his fist in the air and shouted “God is Great.”
Muhammad Nur Solihin, the ring leader, and Agus Supriyadi were arrested along with two other militants including Solihin’s wife in December, just one day before their planned attack on the popular family attraction at the presidential palace.
In its verdict at the East Jakarta District Court, a three-judge panel said there was no justification for either man’s actions and both were guilty of violating Indonesia’s anti-terror law.
The would-be suicide bomber, Solihin’s wife Dian Yulia Novi, was sentenced last month to 7 1/2 years in prison. Another woman, Tutin, received 3 1/2 years for encouraging Novi to become a suicide bomber.
The apparently unrepentant militants are indicative of the challenge facing Indonesian authorities who have imprisoned hundreds of radicals in the past decade for plots and attacks. After serving their sentences, many emerge from the country’s overcrowded prisons with an even greater commitment to violent radicalism and new links to other militants.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has waged a sustained crackdown on violent jihadis since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, but efforts to de-radicalize convicted militants have had uneven success. Meanwhile, a new threat of attacks has emerged from Daesh group sympathizers.
In a television interview after December arrests, Solihin said that he married Novi as his second wife to facilitate her desire to become a suicide bomber.
Presiding Judge Syafrudin Ainor Rafiek said the 37-year-old Supriyadi helped transport Solihin and the bomb for the attack from Central Java to Novi’s residence in Bekasi, a Jakarta satellite city.
The 27-year-old Solihin was the alleged leader of a small extremist cell in Central Java’s Solo city, police have said. His 28-year-old wife planned to run close to the presidential guards during the ceremony and blow herself up with a pressure cooker bomb.
Police have described the group as part of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups that formed in 2015 and pledges allegiance to Daesh group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.


‘Disturbing’ allegations of rape in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

Updated 22 January 2021

‘Disturbing’ allegations of rape in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

  • A UN representative said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region

ADDIS ABABA: The UN says it has received “disturbing” reports of sexual violence and abuse in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region, including of individuals forced to rape members of their own family.
Pramila Patten, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region, including “a high number of alleged rapes” in the Tigrayan capital Mekele.
“There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” Patten said in a statement Thursday.
“Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities.”
Patten called on all parties involved in the hostilities to commit to a zero-tolerance policy for crimes of sexual violence.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, announced military operations in Tigray in early November, saying they came in response to attacks by the regional ruling party on federal army camps.
Abiy declared victory after federal forces entered the regional capital in late November, though leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) remain on the run and have vowed to fight on.
Thousands have died in the conflict, according to the International Crisis Group, though a communications blackout and media and humanitarian access restrictions have made it difficult to assess the situation on the ground.
In her statement Thursday, Patten noted that “medical centers have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which is often an indicator of sexual violence in conflict.”
She called for full humanitarian access to Tigray, including camps for displaced people “and refugee camps where new arrivals have allegedly reported cases of sexual violence.”
She voiced concern about “more than 5,000 Eritrean refugees in and around the area of Shire living in dire conditions, many of them reportedly sleeping in an open field with no water or food, as well as the more than 59,000 Ethiopians who have fled the country into neighboring Sudan.”
The caretaker administration in Tigray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month state television broadcast footage of a meeting during which an unidentified man in a military uniform expressed concern about rapes in Mekele.
“Why are women being raped in Mekele city?” the man said.
“It wouldn’t be shocking had it been happening during the war, because it is not manageable so it could be expected. But at this moment while federal police and local police are back in town, it is still happening.”