JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian court sentenced a website owner to five years in jail on Tuesday for hiding information from authorities that militants were planning to bomb two luxury hotels in Jakarta last year.
Muhammad Jibriel Abdul Rahman, 25, the owner of the Ar-rahmah website, met with Noordin Mohammad Top, who headed a violent wing of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiah, before Top carried out the hotel attacks in July 2009, the court heard.
Jibriel had been charged with abetting terrorism.
“The judges view that the defendant has plenty of information about the Islamic struggle fostered by Noordin Top in Indonesia,” justice Erlin Hermanto told the South Jakarta district court. The sentence, less than the seven years demanded by prosecutors, drew screams from women clad in black burqas, the all-enveloping veils worn in some Islamic communities.
“A damnation from God awaits,” one woman shouted from the court gallery.
Jibriel said he would appeal against the sentence.
Eleven people, Indonesians and foreigners, were killed in the attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels.
Jemaah Islamiah, which wants to create an Islamic state linking Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, was responsible for a string of attacks that killed hundreds of civilians, including the bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003.
In an interview with Reuters, Indonesia’s elite anti-terror chief said that while the risk of such terror attacks was now lower following Top’s death last year and Indonesia’s crackdown on his group, it was still possible for new leaders to emerge. (Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Paul Tait)