Failure of Deradicalization Blamed On Poor Coordination

The Jakarta Post, page 3

The effectiveness of the country’s deradicalization program has been put under scrutiny in the wake of the attack at a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, on Sunday, the chief suspect in which is a former terrorism convict.

The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has blamed poor coordination among related institutions for the failure to monitor terrorism convicts in society after they have finished their prison sentences.

The BNPT has become the subject of criticism since it became known that Johanda, the suspected perpetrator of the Samarinda attack, which claimed the life of a toddler and left three others injured, had returned to join radical groups after he was released on parole in July 2014.

Data from Law and Human Rights Ministry’s Directorate General of Penitentiaries show that, as of September this year, there were 242 terrorist convicts in 70 penitentiaries and two detention centers across the country, most of whom will be released back into society sooner or later.

BNPT chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius maintained his office alone could not conduct de-radicalization and post-release monitoring programs. According to him, the BNPT had secured commitments from 17 relevant institutions to support post-release monitoring programs in order to ensure that former terrorism convicts would not rejoin radical groups after release.

As for Johanda, Suhardi cited difficulties in monitoring his activities as a result of his frequent moves from island to island after his release. Suhardi said Johanda turned back to radical groups after he was rejected by his family in South Sulawesi. He then reportedly joined an East Kalimantan branch of the Islamic State (IS) movement-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

In addition, many former terrorism convicts also become mosque caretakers. In such a situation, the BNPT will work with the Religious Affairs Ministry, which has access to mosques across the country.

Contacted separately, Religious Affairs Ministry spokesman Muharram Marzuki confirmed that the ministry was working with the BNPT on post-release monitoring programs for terrorism convicts.

The ministry is tasked with cooperating with Islamic organizations across the country to welcome former terrorism convicts back into society and involving them in any organizational activities among the public.



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