Indonesia

Overview:  Indonesia continued efforts to detect, disrupt, degrade, and deny safe haven for terrorist groups operating within its borders.  The country’s counterterrorism agencies work cooperatively with U.S. government law enforcement agencies.  While not a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the Indonesian government and most civil society leaders denounce ISIS and support CVE efforts in tandem with a robust civilian-led law enforcement effort against terrorists.  The Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) considers Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to be the most dangerous terrorist group currently operating in the country.  BNPT assesses that Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) is dangerous but disorganized, and thus also remains a priority for law enforcement.

In 2022, Indonesia arrested and charged several hundred individuals for their affiliation with terrorist groups, including members of JI and JAD, demonstrating Indonesia’s sustained counterterrorism effort.  However, because the average sentence for convicted terrorists is less than three years, the need for post-release deradicalization programs and monitoring resources is expected to increase.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  According to the Indonesian National Police (INP), there were two terrorist attacks in Indonesia in 2022:

  • On December 7, a 34-year-old Indonesian man with alleged membership in JAD detonated an explosive device that killed one police officer and wounded 11 people at a police station in Bandung, West Java.  The Indonesian Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) identified the attacker as Agus Sujatno, who was also killed in the attack.  Sujatno previously had been convicted of providing explosives and material support for an attack in Bandung in 2017, but he was released in 2021 after a four-year prison sentence.
  • On October 25, a 24-year-old Indonesian woman, Siti Elina, attempted to trespass onto the Presidential Palace of Indonesia, armed with a pistol, and was arrested by the INP.  Indonesian counterterrorism agencies suspected Elina of being an Islamic State of Indonesia sympathizer who was radicalized to violence by a religious teacher seeking to indoctrinate students to wage war on the Indonesian state.

Legislation, Law Enforcement and Border Security:  The 2018 Law on Counterterrorism is the controlling legal mandate and authority for Indonesian counterterrorism agencies.  In 2022, Indonesia’s Congress passed a revised criminal code that incorporates the 2018 counterterrorism law but does not modify it.  To provide a secure trial, terrorist suspects are currently tried in two courts in Jakarta.  Although courts report a 100 percent conviction rate on counterterrorism cases, sentences average only about three years.  Reluctance to share information broadly within the Indonesian government impedes the work of investigators and prosecutors, and in some high-profile cases the sentences for convicted terrorists were lenient.

Indonesian counterterrorism efforts are led by civilians within the INP with primary investigative responsibility assigned to the special counterterrorism unit “Densus 88.”  The INP, including Densus 88, received ongoing training and capacity building assistance from the U.S. government.  In 2022, Densus 88 reported the arrests of several hundred suspected terrorists from JI and JAD in addition to the elimination of the terrorist group Mujahidin Indonesia Timur.  The INP also claimed successes in its deradicalization programs, which encouraged several prominent terrorists to renounce violence.  In addition to Densus 88, the INP uses its Mobile Brigade Corps (Korps BRIMOB l) for counterterrorism, riot control, hostage rescue, and bomb disposal operations.  Although Indonesian counterterrorism efforts are civilian led, the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) are authorized to support counterterrorism primarily through the TNI Special Forces Command (Kopassus).

The Indonesian government has integrated INTERPOL databases for terrorist screening at points of entry, but ongoing information-sharing challenges at times hinder the effectiveness of screening efforts.  The BNPT has committed to developing a national terrorist watchlist and acknowledges that responsibility, consistent with UN Security Council resolutions 2396 and 2309.  However, significant roadblocks to information-sharing persist owing to unconnected technology platforms that vary across provinces and government agencies.

Indonesian government policy is to refuse the return of Indonesian FTFs to Indonesia.  The government considers repatriation of children of FTFs under age 10 on a case-by-case basis.  In 2022, the Indonesian Embassy in Baghdad coordinated the repatriation of four children of alleged FTFs serving jail sentences.  According to civil society organizations, the children have undergone deradicalization programming sponsored by Indonesian counterterrorism agencies.  However, the deradicalization programs appeared to be case specific and not part of a formalized approach.

Although some Indonesian government officials have publicly proposed designating Papuan armed groups as terrorist organizations, government agencies have yet to officially designate them as such.  After a July 16 attack by a Papuan armed group that killed 10 people, a senior Indonesian official said that the Indonesian Cabinet classified Papuan armed groups as terrorist organizations.  But by the end of 2022, prosecutors and investigators working for CT agencies reported that they had not received formal authorization to prosecute or investigate Papuan groups under the counterterrorism law.  In 2022, three UN Special Rapporteurs raised concerns about extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and the forced displacement of an estimated 5,000 Indigenous Papuans since April.  In addition, there were concerns that extrajudicial killings in Papua could increase further, should Indonesian government agencies formally label the Papuan groups as terrorist organizations.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Indonesia is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and currently an observer at FATF.  Its FIU, the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, is a member of the Egmont Group.  The results of Indonesia’s 2022 FATF mutual evaluation fell short of requirements for FATF membership.  However, Indonesia is seeking to adopt recommendations that would allow it to become a full member in 2023.  From 2017 to 2022, Indonesia froze 134 financial institutions’ accounts in response to designations made by Indonesian counterterrorism agencies and the United Nations.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.  

Countering Violent Extremism:  The BNPT and INP lead Indonesian government efforts on CVE with assistance from ministries dealing with social and religious affairs.  Indonesia’s National Action Plan for Countering Violent Extremism (NAP-CVE) is a multiagency effort based on a Presidential Executive Order from 2021.  In 2022, the BNPT evaluated progress on NAP-CVE implementation, reporting that there were successes but also noting that the COVID pandemic delayed program implementation on most goals.  In 2022 the INP continued to use former terrorists in its public messaging to demonstrate the success of its deradicalization program.   Umar Patek, a terrorist convicted for his role in the Bali bombings in 2002, has featured prominently in the messaging campaign.  Patek was released from prison in December after serving 11 years of his 20-year sentence.  In exchange for leniency, Patek pledged loyalty to Indonesia and renounced terrorism.

In 2022, Indonesian government messaging was focused on narratives intended to weaken the appeal of terrorism.  Both the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, which oversees public schools and universities, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which oversees Islamic boarding schools and universities, have programs intended to prevent student radicalization.  The national mosque, Istiqlal, whose head imam is a government appointee, has led training programs on counter radicalization for youth.  The government disseminated these programs throughout mosque networks and media entities to promote messages of tolerance.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Indonesia continued to support counterterrorism efforts in several regional and multilateral organizations:

  • The United Nations
  • The Global Counterterrorism Forum
  • The Aqaba Process (hosted by the Jordanian Government)
  • ASEAN
  • ASEAN Regional Forum on Countering Violent Extremism
  • ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meetings
  • ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

The BNPT is the chair of the Working Group on Counterterrorism of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime.  In 2022, Indonesia led coordination among ASEAN sectoral bodies to implement CVE efforts under the Bali Workplan.  In August, Indonesia, in partnership with the Department of State and the United Nations Office on Counterterrorism, hosted the second ASEAN-U.S. Regional Workshop on CVE.  Indonesia continued to use the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation as a regional training center for counterterrorism officials.  Indonesia also continued to participate in multilateral fora, including the Aqaba process, which held its Southeast Asia Expert-Level Meeting in Bali in November.  Indonesia co-chairs the GCTF’s CVE Working Group with Australia.

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