TERROR ALERT: Indonesia RUNNING OUT of prison cells for terrorists
The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) has warned that a group of ISIS members have been released or are «soon-to-be-released» from state prison, raising fears over a prison overcrowding epidemic in the country.
The IS members, who are either convicted or awaiting trial, are among 144 prisoners who have been released since January last year, or still completing their sentences until December 2019.
IPAC director Sidney Jones said in the report: “The group of 144 released and soon-to-be-released prisoners include the first significant cluster of individuals with Syria links to have completed prison sentences.
“In the future, Indonesia will have to be prepared for more offenders with Syria links being released, raising the question of how to avoid the development of a possibly dangerous ‘IS alumni network’ among ex-prisoners, how to monitor possible ongoing communication with contacts in Syria.
“It is a reminder that Indonesia has to start thinking now about what happens when the men with pro-IS JAD (Jemaah Ansharut Daulah) links start coming out; as a group they may be tougher to handle than members of other organisations because they have defined themselves so much in terms of enmity to the state, extreme takfiri ideology and violence.”
JAD is an ISIS militant group in Indonesia led by Aman Abdurrahaman, who carried out series of attacks across the country, including the terror bombings in Surabaya last May.
ISIS members use the ‘takfiri’ ideology to justify killing anyone who does not follow their radicalised beliefs, including Muslims who deny their teachings.
Indonesian authorities are urged to find a way to prevent freed ISIS prisoners from spreading the takfiri ideology, IPAC said in its report.
Since Surabaya’s bomb attacks in May, the number of imprisoned extremists in Indonesia has risen drastically.
On June 22, authorities implemented stringent anti-terrorism laws across the country, arresting several suspected terrorists associated with the Surabaya bombings, leading to a rise in the number of prisoners.
IPAC said in its report: “The huge intake is already straining the capacity of police remand centres but soon the burden will shift to prosecutors who have to prepare the cases for court.
“The 26 prosecutors designated for handling terrorism cases are already stretched thin, and their caseload is about to double in October or November 2018 when police dossiers on the new arrests reach them.
“If arrests continue to climb under the new anti-terror law and suspects are given longer sentences, the prison system could also face a crunch point, even with new maximum security facilities under construction.
«There has been little forward thinking about how all this might affect rehabilitation programmes.”
The report comes as a new super maximum prison facility in Karanganyar Prison is set to be built on Nusakambangan, Central Java.
The facility will house 500 prisoners at one time, with round-the-clock monitoring and state of the art prison technology.
A member of the Indonesian security forces stands guard after a bomb blast in front of a shopping mall in Jakarta
Apart from preventing the spread of radicalised groups, officials have said there must be initiatives taken to prevent prison staff from befriending prisoners.
IPAC added: “In the past, close relationships have developed between some guards and inmates that led to security breaches, such as staff alerting inmates as to when raids to search for mobile phones would take place.»