A member of regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah was sentenced in the South Jakarta District Court to eight years in jail on Monday for assisting and harboring terrorists who attacked the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in the capital last July.
The sentence handed to Aris Susanto, alias Amin, 32, was two years less than the prosecution had demanded and well below the maximum 15 years in prison for harboring terrorists and concealing information about their whereabouts.
Presiding Judge Haswandi said the defendant was found guilty of aiding key terrorist fugitives before and after the hotel attacks, as well as concealing information about terrorist chief Noordin M Top, believed to be the mastermind of the bombings and many major attacks before that.
“His actions hampered attempts by authorities to arrest perpetrators of terrorism and tarnished the country’s image in the eyes of the world,” the judge said. On the mitigating factors, the judge said Aris had behaved politely through the hearings and admitted wrongdoing.
“The defendant is sentenced to eight years in jail, less the time already served in remand,” Haswandi said.
When asked whether he would appeal, lawyer Asludin Hatjani said: “I need a week to discuss the response with my client.”
Aris, from the Central Java town of Temanggung, was described by prosecutors as a member of JI between 2007 and 2009 and a follower of Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, led by controversial cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
On Aug. 5, Aris provided a shelter for Ibrohim, then a Marriott florist, who provided access to the hotel for smuggling in explosives, and Saefuddin Zuhri, the so-called field coordinator of the hotel attacks, at his uncle’s house in Temanggung. The hotel attacks left nine dead and more than 50 injured.
The defendant also met several times with Budi Pranoto, alias Urwah, known as Noordin’s right-hand man in Solo, and harbored another of key Noordin aide, Asad, alias Mohamad Syahrir, at his home.
Ibrohim died in a police raid at the Temanggung house. Noordin, Urwah and four other militants were killed in another police raid in Solo two months after the bombings, while Syahrir and Zuhri were killed in Tangerang several weeks later.
Prosecutors have said Aris also met with Noordin several times before and after the attacks but failed to report his whereabouts to the police despite a major manhunt for him.