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Rewarding Terrorists Who Cooperate

Head of Counter-Terrorism Body Justifies Sentence Commutation of Bali Bomber Ali Imron

(3/22/2013) The head of the Counter-Terrorism Coordination Body (BNPT), Ansyaad Mbai, has denied that his agency has been lobbying for a pardon of behalf of condemned Bali bomber Ali Imron, but, instead, seeking only that his outstanding death sentence be converted to life imprisonment.

As quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Mba said on Thursday, March 21, 2013: “A sense of appreciation for Ali Imron predates the establishment of the BNPT which was formed in 2010, because the file was (then) already complete. All that remained was for the BNPT to do was to finalize the file and forward it.”

At the same time the BNPT strove to distance himself from the process, saying his agency’s actions do not represent support for terrorists, but only an acknowledgement of the assistance given by Ali Imrom who has been cooperative in helping law enforcement officials uncover terrorist networks in Indonesia.

“If terrorists have been arrested, that is because we were helped by Ali Imron who helped identify existing terrorist networks,“ he explained.

Mba said that the service and assistance of Ali Imron should be rewarded, adding: “He was sentenced to death and has asked that his sentenced be commuted to life in prison. We are prepared to support this change in punishment.”

The BNPT chief pointed out that the Minister of Justice and Human Rights is also supporting the commutation of sentence from the death penalty to life in prison.

Ali Imron who played an active part in the planning of the 2002 Bali Bombing, has cooperated with police in unraveling that crime and the terrorist networks operating in Indonesia. He has also repeatedly offered apologies, asking forgiveness from the victims of terrorism in Indonesia.

When asked about the risk of terrorist acts in East Java, Mba admitted that every province of Indonesia has a potential for terrorist, but the risk in East Java is fairly remote, because the religious beliefs of people in that province are relatively moderate.

He said his agency was supportive of the introduction of moderate religious teachings now being included in the curriculum and in the rewriting of religious teaching materials in East Java.

He explained that through March 2013, law enforcement official had arrested 850 terrorists, 60 of whom were killed in a process that also cost the lives of 30 policemen.

Defending both the work and strategies of his agency, Mba said:
“There have been 790 terrorists that we have captured alive and we have treated them well. The children of terrorists or suspected terrorists have been given assistance.”

Because of giving priority to a humanistic approach, he insisted, the government has been able to cultivate a more moderate understanding of religious belief within the community.