News / Asia

Indonesian Law Aims to Thwart Terror Funds

Indonesian anti-terror policemen stand guard in the business district in Jakarta, September 11, 2011.
Indonesian anti-terror policemen stand guard in the business district in Jakarta, September 11, 2011.
Kate Lamb
Indonesia has passed a new law to thwart the revenue streams of extremist groups. Among other things, the new law gives authorities the power to freeze bank accounts and seize assets, and is expected to help sever funding for radical groups in Indonesia and abroad. 

Analysts say the new legislation is a positive move forward, but does not indicate a major shift in the country’s counterterrorism efforts.
 
The government needs to modernize its approach to combating terrorism, said Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin. The new law is about perfecting the country's terrorism laws in line with ratification of international conventions. And as part of the plan the minister said the government must target the "urat nadi," or the financial "veins" of terrorist activities.
 
But Todd Elliot, a Jakarta-based terrorism analyst for Concorde Consulting said the law is more about emulating G-20 countries than a marked shift in counterterrorism efforts.
 
“I think in this instance it was more like a symbolic gesture to bring Indonesia in line with other countries, especially G-20 countries that are required to have laws that address terrorism financing," said Elliot. "Most of the terrorist activities in Indonesia are pretty cheap, small-scale and run on cash so I don’t think it would have that much impact on terrorism movements as far as curtailing them.”
 
While it may not be revolutionary, the law does introduce harsh new penalties. Those convicted of conspiring with others to fund terrorist activities face life in prison. Companies convicted of similar offenses can face fines of up to $10 million.
 
While Indonesia’s major terror threats have largely been squashed, splinter jihadist groups continue to pose a threat, and they are finding new ways to fund their activities. Last year the police arrested and charged two individuals for accessing money through online hacking and using the funds to finance jihadist activities in Java and Sulawesi. Last week, one received an eight year prison sentence and a $51,000 fine.
 
The current money laundering and counterterrorism laws are sufficient to cover such cases, said Elliot.

If the government were more serious about a crackdown on radical activities, it would amend the 2003 Counterterrorism Law. But, he said that too has its challenges.
 
“It is a really, really sensitive issue and there are some religious-based parties that are against it...The counterterrorism agency has actually submitted a draft revision to the house and were supposed to put it on their deliberation list this year, but they said they didn’t have time to get it even though they put on a bunch of other bills that seemed less important or less urgent. It’s kind of like a hot potato that no one wants to deal with," he said. "But everyone agrees that something needs to be done.”
 
Indonesia has not experienced a large-scale terrorist attack since the twin bombing of the J.W Marriot and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta in 2009.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid