x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Indonesian ex-cop jailed 10 years for selling weapons

Judge sends former Indonesian cop to prison for selling weapons to terrorist cell plotting gun attacks on Western hotels and embassies in Jakarta.

DEPOK, Indonesia // A former Indonesian policeman was sentenced yesterday Wednesday to 10 years in prison for supplying weapons to a terrorist cell allegedly plotting a series of attacks on foreigners.

Sofyan Tsauri, 34, was arrested after security forces raided a militant training camp in the westernmost province of Aceh one year ago.

Judge Dwiarso Santiarto told a district court on the outskirts of the capital that Tsauri was guilty of selling dozens of assault rifles, revolvers and other weapons to the previously unknown terrorist cell called "Al Qaida in Aceh."

The militant group was allegedly plotting Mumbai-style gun attacks on Western hotels and embassies in Jakarta.

It also wanted to assassinate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and attack security forces to punish the state for lending support to the U.S.-led anti-terrorism fight.

Tsauri, fired from the police force in 2009 on charges of desertion, bought the weapons from two officers who were working at a police warehouse, the judge said.

The two were given jail time in separate trials last week.

Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million, has battled extremists since 2002, when members of the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah bombed two nightclubs on the resort island of Bali, killing 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.

Members of a violent offshoot of the group have continued to carry out near-annual strikes on embassies, beach-side restaurants and upscale hotels since then, killing more than 60.

Tsauri is one of more than 100 alleged members of Al Qaida in Aceh to have been captured or killed since February. His lawyers said he would appeal the verdict, which was five years lighter than the prosecutors' had sought.