Indonesia relocates convicted terrorists

Scores of incarcerated radicals are being concentrated at one facility, where they will enter a de-radicalisation programme.

By Aditya Surya for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

August 12, 2014
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Indonesian authorities have started transferring 170 hard-core convicted terrorists from prisons nationwide to a state-of-the-art facility in West Java.

  •  Anti-terrorist troops take part in a September 2013 exercise at the Indonesia Peace and Security Centre in Sentul, West Java. As part of its operations, the centre now houses convicted terrorists being de-radicalised. [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

    Anti-terrorist troops take part in a September 2013 exercise at the Indonesia Peace and Security Centre in Sentul, West Java. As part of its operations, the centre now houses convicted terrorists being de-radicalised. [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

Their transfer from 27 penitentiaries to the Peace and Security Centre (IPSC) in Sentul, Bogor, began July 7th, officials said.

The convicts were being sent there for immersion in a de-radicalisation programme that strives to rehabilitate them for re-entry into society upon their release.

The Rp 1.64 trillion ($144.2m) centre opened in early April. It houses seven different facilities, including a Peacekeeping Mission Centre and a Counterterrorism Training and De-radicalisation Centre.

"This facility's aim is to help them return to society but also to prevent the spread of radicalism among inmates while they are serving their prison sentence," Justice and Human Rights minister Amir Syamsuddin told Khabar Southeast Asia.

"We have learned that by placing terrorists in regular prisons, they have a greater opportunity to spread their influences, not only among inmates but also officers. By moving them into our special facility in Sentul, they all will be subject to the de-radicalisation programme," he added.

The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) runs the programme. The agency is looking to transfer a total of 280 incarcerated terrorists to Sentul but the facility can only hold 170 inmates, so authorities will need to give priority to the most hard-core convicts, BNPT Chief Ansyaad Mbai said.

"De-radicalisation is a slow process, but we hope we can see results in a few years to come," he told Khabar.

The 170 convicts immersed in the programme will interact with former terrorists from other countries, who have successfully abandoned terrorism and returned to society. These ex-terrorists will counsel the convicts, helping them make the transition toward renouncing the terrorist's way of life.

"These clerics will share their experience and why they decided to leave terrorism," Ansyaad said.

Yet the government's de-radicalisation programme has its limits, commented terrorism expert Al Chaidar , himself a former radical and ex-member of the Islamic State of Indonesia (NII).

"This is a good idea, a new hope to build a de-radicalisation centre, especially to help them transition before returning to society. The government also faces huge challenges with this programme. After placing them in the programme, what next?" he said.

Reader Comments
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    • hanasamita
      September 10, 2014 @ 05:09:59AM
    • I don't really agree.
    • mts al islam mranggen
      September 10, 2014 @ 01:09:10AM
    • The corrupt are also terrorists, how should we deal with them?
    • aminah
      September 9, 2014 @ 09:09:11PM
    • I agree with this method of dealing with terrorists. However, I implore the officials involved to carry out their duties to the best of their ability with no fraud, misuse of authority and must be fair and honest.
    • Gacom
      September 4, 2014 @ 11:09:10AM
    • I agree with the good intention but what about the corrupt who are running amok in this Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia? They are clearly bankrupting the country, is that not terrorism?
    • rasim ar
      September 2, 2014 @ 12:09:29PM
    • We should support the government's good intentions, Indonesia wants these convicts so that the understanding of national values will be able to grow again and the upholding of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
    • alexleo
      August 31, 2014 @ 11:08:05PM
    • Yes, a good plan, but should it not be reviewed so that it will be thorough?
    • mouuco
      August 29, 2014 @ 06:08:47PM
    • Such a waste of money. If the state were fair, the people would be prosperous. There would be no terrorists. The terrorists in a country are the corrupt and they are left in peace with minimal prevention.
    • rizal kurniawan
      August 19, 2014 @ 03:08:11AM
    • Quite good.
    • arifrahman
      August 18, 2014 @ 07:08:18PM
    • Give humane treatment to ISIS supporters in Indonesia, apply the principle of innocent until proven guilty to them. Do not treat them like criminals whose crimes have been determined.
    • William Boeder
      August 12, 2014 @ 04:08:21PM
    • One must eye with suspicion the true intent of the Indonesian government, considering that their idea of a terrorist is a non-violent pro independence person. de-radicalization is term that can mean any number of harsh and oppressive even brutal actions upon the individuals imprisoned. Far better to place all the corrupted Indonesian ministers and bureaucrats that have terrorized the Indonesian economy over the past years.
    • ashari
      August 11, 2014 @ 09:08:02PM
    • After a brief overview, the language or words in the polling are rather confusing. I recommend a review so that the two sides of the argument (both who agree and disagree) can be made more focused and more easily understood without bias. Pardon me.

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