JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia passed a new law Friday (25/5) that will give police more power to take pre-emptive action against terrorism suspects in the wake of the country’s deadliest Islamist attacks in years.
The bill had been stalled for almost two years as parliament wrangled over details, including how to define “terrorism,” but a wave of deadly suicide bombings this month hiked pressure on lawmakers to pass the legislation.
Police will now be allowed to detain terrorism suspects for as long as 21 days, up from the current one week, and they will now also be able to charge people for joining or recruiting for a “terrorist” organization, at home or abroad.
Rights activists have expressed concerns that the bill’s vague wording could open the door to a crackdown on any group seen as a threat.
The revision of anti terrorism law, at first will give enhanced powers needed to dismantle terrorist support activity, ranging from propaganda to recruitment, financing and travel.
Second, a shift from counter-terrorism cooperation to collaboration where military, law enforcement and intelligence services exchange personnel, create common databases, conduct joint training and operations, as well as share expertise, resources and experience.
A number of points in the Revision of the Terrorism Act are known to emphasize the strengthening of the prevention phase. In addition to strengthening in the prevention phase also raised the involvement of the Indonesian National Army in the fight against terrorism and the strengthening of National Agency for Combating Terrorism.
For the involvement of the National Army, the committee has unanimously agreed in March 2018. Such involvement is contained in Article 43 of the Revision of Law Number 15 Year 2003 on the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Terrorism.
This month, 13 people were killed in separate suicide attacks on churches and a police station by two families — including a nine and 12-year-old girl — in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya.
The families had ties to a local extremist network that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, which claimed the attacks.
A police officer was also killed in subsequent attack on a police station in Sumatra days later.
Indonesia — which is set to host the Asian Games in three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October — has long struggled with Islamist militancy.
Its worst-ever attack was the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, including locals and foreign tourists.
Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown since the Bali bombing and most attacks in recent years have been limited to low-level operations against domestic security forces.
But police have said they needed beefed-up terrorism laws to crack down on homegrown militancy.
In the wake of the Surabaya attacks, President Joko Widodo threatened to issue an emergency regulation if the parliament failed to pass the new law.