A 28-YEAR-OLD Indonesian woman has been given seven years and six months jailtime by a Jakarta court for plans to launch a suicide bomb attack last December – the first female to be convicted of such a crime in Indonesia.
Dian Yulia Novi was arrested late last year on suspicion of plotting to blow herself up outside Jakarta’s presidential palace during the changing of the guard. She was arrested along with her husband, Muhamad Nur Solikin.
Indonesia – the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation – has seen a surge in homegrown militancy inspired by Islamic State and has grappled with a series of small-scale attacks in the past two years.
Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year sentence for Dian, whom they said received instructions to carry out the attack from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant believed to be fighting with Islamic State in Syria.
“Her sentence was reduced because she admitted to her actions,” Dian’s lawyer Kamsi told Reuters on Monday. He said the verdict was handed down by the East Jakarta District Court on Aug 25.
Judges delivered the verdict earlier than expected because she is pregnant and due to give birth in early September, her lawyer said. She is detained at a Jakarta area facility.
Her husband is on trial for the same plot. His next hearing, at which he is expected to enter a plea, is scheduled for Sept 6.
Kamsi said Dian, who was believed to be radicalised through social media while employed as a domestic worker in Taiwan, did not intend to appeal her verdict.
Police said they had intercepted a letter she intended to send to her parents stating her intention to carry out jihad. Later, an unexploded bomb was found in a room she had rented in Bekasi, about an hour outside Jakarta.
“If the [bombing] failed, she would attack the security guards of [then-Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama] Ahok or attack a mosque at the [police elite unit] Mobile Brigade Headquarters,” said the presiding judge Syrafrudin Ainor Rafiek, as quoted by the Kyodo News agency.
Counter-terrorism forces are worried militants may be using new and more sophisticated tactics to carry out attacks – like recruiting female suicide bombers or using dangerous chemicals to make “dirty bombs.”
Last December, after her arrest, Dian said the “suicide bombing was not because I was feeling hopeless, being depressed and wanting to end my life, but it is to get blessings from God.”
Additional reporting by Reuters