A would-be suicide bomber who botched his attack on an Indonesian police post last year and lived to tell the story was jailed for five and a half years on Tuesday.
The sentence handed down to Ahmad Abdul Rabani, 38, was two and a half years lighter than the eight-year jail term recommended by prosecutors.
They had originally sought the death penalty.
The East Jakarta District Court ruled Ahmad had acted with intent in attempts to kill two Bekasi Police officers with a crude bomb in September. The bomb, however, detonated prematurely, leaving Ahmad with serious injuries, including a broken leg and arm.
Ahmad was unrepentant.
“I do not regret what I did. I will accept all the consequences that come my way,” he said. “What I have done is done.”
The homemade bomb with which Ahmad tried to kill the officers at a traffic police post in Kalimalang was mounted on the back seat of bicycle.
Ahmad, a drifter who moved from one mosque to another after coming to Jakarta from Aceh in April, tried to kill himself, along with Adj. Comr. Hendry Azhari and Second Brig. Sugianto, with his bicycle bomb.
Presiding judge H.B.J. Nasution said Ahmad was found guilty for specific reasons.
“Although Ahmad did not kill anybody, he did put other people’s lives in danger and spread terror by detonating the bicycle bomb,” he said.
The judge also said mitigating factors were considered for Ahmad, saying he confessed to his actions and was honest during the course of the trial.
“He admitted that he had built the bomb to take revenge on police officers for arresting Muslim terror suspects,” the judge said.
“He also admitted that he made the bomb by himself and that he spent as much as Rp 200,000 [$23] in the process.”
Outside the court, Trimo, one of the prosecutors, told reporters that the prosecution would consider appealing the sentence.
Ahmad, who has lost his entire family in the 2004 Aceh tsunami, said he did not know where he would go when he was released as he did not have any family or friends in Jakarta.
“I am just going to start my life all over again. I do not know yet what I am going to do exactly,” he said.
When questioned about the Indonesian Islamic State (NII) movement, Ahmad said Indonesia should be run according to Shariah law.
“[An Islamic state] would be ideal for Indonesia. I do not like the current state of affairs in Indonesia. It just doesn’t fit my beliefs. A good country is an Islamic country,” he said.
Two suicide notes were found after Ahmad had set off his bike-bomb.
One of them read: “This bomb is for all you kafir [infidels]! We will come chasing after you even if you run up to the clouds. Your death is certain. The mujahideen are still alive in Indonesia!”
Activists said on Monday that violence against women still dominated reports on women’s issues in the print media and that other angles and themes needed to be explored.
The state-sanctioned National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) said its findings came from a survey of reports on women’s issues published by eight national print media in 2010, including the Jakarta Globe.
The survey showed that from the 1,278 articles on women’s issues covered in those media that year, 82.95 percent were focused on violence against women. The majority of the rest covered gender discrimination, female criminals and morality issues.
Komnas Perempuan’s Andy Yentriyani said at a discussion on Monday that the media should pay more attention to the frequently negative portrayal of women’s morality, even in stories where a woman is the victim of a sexual assault.
“The presumption of innocence is often neglected by the media, especially media reports on pornography, where the moral issue, rather than the sexual violence, is being brought forward,” she said.
TV presenters Cut Tari and Luna Maya both came under intense media scrutiny last year after being implicated in the Nazril “Ariel” Irham sex video scandal. Both women were publicly denounced by some religious groups for immoral behavior.
Komnas Perempuan commissioner Arimbi Heroeputri said that while 83 percent of reports on women’s issues actually met the journalistic code of ethics, including in not naming victims of certain crimes, only half met both the journalistic code of ethics and Komnas Perempuan’s own code of victim’s rights.
Nunung Qomariyah, another commissioner, called on the media to become an agent of change and help spread a better understanding of the issues women face in society.
“The media also has a function to influence, create and change society’s point of view … on women’s issues, to have a better understanding in the society,” Nunung said.
Another commissioner, Neng Dara Affifah, said the press council and other journalistic organizations must closely monitor the implementation of the code of ethics in media reports.
“In order to implement the code of conduct in media reports on violence against women, media workers and women activists need to discuss and establish an appropriate code of conduct,” Neng said.
Neng said that in reporting on violence against women, the presumption of innocence, especially for the victims, should also be respected, especially when concerning a public figure.
The government is set to begin issuing the much-discussed electronic identification cards in September, an official said on Sunday.
Raydonnyzar Moenek, a spokesman with the Ministry of Home Affairs, told the Jakarta Globe that the government would begin handing out the new cards, also known as E-KTPs, in 197 districts, mostly in Java and Bali.
The E-KTP is being hailed by the government as a step forward that will simplify bureaucratic processes and improve national security by being tougher to forge.
The new smart cards will be equipped with an electronic chip that will contain more data than previously recorded, such as information on birth, land ownership and tax status.
They will also contain a biometric fingerprint and the holder’s new single identity number.
“We will split the distribution of the E-KTP into two phases,” Raydonnyzar said.
“The first distribution will be done in 197 districts in early September through the end of December 2011. That will be followed by 300 districts in 2012.”
He said the distribution of the cards was taking place in two phases to give those districts not yet ready more time to prepare for the program.
Raydonnyzar said the government had budgeted as much as Rp 5.9 trillion ($690 million) for the E-KPT project.
He said the new cards would be distributed for free, and that citizens would only need to register at their local subdistrict office to obtain the card.
It will take about two weeks from registration for the new card to be issued, he said.
He added that the new cards’ adoption of the Single Identity Number program was also a sign of progress.
Under the system, all Indonesian citizens will have only one identification number until they die. The government has said the system will lead to greater administrative order and, most important, avoid IDs being duplicated or misused.
Some terrorists and terrorist suspects have been found carrying multiple identity cards listing falsified information.
Raydonnyzar said he was confident the E-KTP would also reach those living in remote areas lacking electricity.
“In order to provide all citizens throughout the country with an E-KTP, we are going to send out officers equipped with laptops and electric generators that will then be used to verify the information of citizens,” he said. “We will also record their fingerprints.”
He also dismissed rumors that private information would be sold to businesses.
“The information that the government will sell the citizen database to private institutions is not correct at all,” he said.