Prosecution Seeks 12 Years For Tholut Over Aceh Camp

The Jakarta Globe
Prosecution Seeks 12 Years For Tholut Over Aceh Camp

Prosecutors on Thursday demanded that key terror suspect Abu Tholut serve 12 years in jail for his alleged role in the establishment of a militant training camp in Aceh where attacks on foreigners and state leaders were supposedly plotted.

Prosecutor Bambang Suharyadi told the West Jakarta District Court there was sufficient proof that Tholut, 50, had been helping to set up the paramilitary camp at the request of hard-line cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, and procured firearms for the group.

Bashir was in June jailed for 15 years for terrorism offenses.

“We recommend the defendant be jailed for a maximum of 12 years, less the time he spent in detention. There are mitigating factors: he was well-behaved during the course of the trial and he has admitted his involvement,” Bambang said.

However, the prosecutor added that there were also aggravating factors.

The defendant has been convicted of terrorism before, he said, and the crime he was now on trial for “endangered people’s lives and spread terror.”

According to the prosecution, the defendant was invited by Bashir for a meeting at the Jakarta office of the radical Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid in February last year. He was informed that paramilitary training was under way and shown video footage of the related activities.

Tholut was then allegedly handed Rp 70 million ($8,000) by Haris Amir Falah, the head of JAT’s Jakarta branch, for delivery to the camp in Aceh.

Nurlan, an attorney for Tholut, said his client did not deserve such a lengthy jail term, arguing that the defendant was not directly involved in establishing the militant camp.

Tholut only surveyed the location for the camp, said Nurlan, a lawyer from Palu Muslim Defenders Team (TPM).

“We are going to read our [full] defense statement next week,” the lawyer said outside court.

Tholut, also known as Mustofa, was arrested in Kudus, Central Java, in December 2010.

He had become one of Indonesia’s most-wanted fugitives after master bomb-makers Noordin M. Top and Dulmatin were gunned down in police raids in 2009 and 2010.

Tholut is one of more than 120 alleged members of the group Tanzim Al Qaeda in Aceh to have been captured or killed since the camp was raided early last year.

Police believe Tholut was a key leader of terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, as he was said to have spent years in Afghanistan and the Philippines waging jihad.

He was convicted in 2004 for illegal possession of firearms and explosives and was sentenced to seven years in prison. But he was released on parole in 2007.

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