Indonesian jails could be fostering terrorism


Electronic Media Monitoring Service 


23-06-2010 08:15 AM


ABC Canberra 666

Parl No.


Channel Name

ABC Canberra 666


23-06-2010 08:15 AM



23-06-2010 08:56 AM

Cover date

2010-06-23 08:15:58

Citation Id






BROWN, Matt, (journalist)


Open Item 

Parent Program URL
Text online


Media Deleted


System Id


Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document

Indonesian jails could be fostering terrorism -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

TONY EASTLEY: More evidence is emerging of Indonesia's failure to rehabilitate people convicted of
supporting terrorists.

A man has just been jailed for his role in the suicide bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta
last year which killed seven people including three Australians.

But Rohmat Puji Prabowo has told the ABC the last time he was jailed for a similar crime he was
comforted and mentored by the likes of controversial cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir.

Indonesia correspondent, Matt Brown, reports from Jakarta.

MATT BROWN: The lock up at south Jakarta district court has housed a steady procession of terrorist
supporters. Rohmat Puji Prabowo, for one, is getting used to the sound of cell doors swinging open
and closing again.

(Sound of prison cell door opening and closing)

MATT BROWN: Rohmat is a prime example of Indonesia's inability to quash support for violent
radicals. He's been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for driving arch terrorist Noordin Mohammad
Top and his explosives across Java in the lead up to the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotel bombings.
The attacks killed seven victims, including three Australians last year.

(Sound of Rohmat Puji Prabowo talking)

"I just want to help good people," Rohmat says. "I didn't know whether they committed terrorism or
whatever - as far as I'm concerned, these are good people. They do religious rituals well, they do
no evil, and they asked for help - so it was a good deed, so I helped."

But this is the second time Rohmat's been jailed for the same sort of crime. In the wake of Top's
first attack on the Marriott in 2003 and just weeks before the Australian Embassy bombing in 2004
the police arrested a senior operative known by the alias Adung.

And who was arrested for sheltering him? Rohmat Puji Prabowo. On that occasion he was jailed for
three years. And in Cipinang prison he told the ABC he found a constellation of hard liners to look
up to.

(Sound of Rohmat Puji Prabowo talking)

"Some of us stayed in the one room and we all met at the mosque", he says, detailing a list of
terrorists and Islamists, including the notorious Abu Bakar Bashir.

He says he and his friends helped drug addicts, who were being neglected by the authorities, to
find the right path.

(Sound of Rohmat Puji Prabowo talking)

"We prayed together, we taught to them to fear God, to repent their sins and to do good deeds. We
taught them with words and actions".

Rohmat was released eight months early for good behaviour. But, just as the Government ignored the
need to rehabilitate drug addicts Rohmat says the authorities made no attempt to change his
opinions or his ways.

(Sound of Rohmat Puji Prabowo talking)

"They left us alone after we were released and when we got home. I've heard about something like
that, but they only give it to some people, the ones they think are dangerous".

(Sound of Rohmat Puji Prabowo talking)

This time around the prosecutor, Virgaliano Nahan, says "frankly, we cannot change someone by
sentencing them". But then he adds, "hopefully, the fact is the previous sentence was low, now the
sentence has been increased we hope it will have a deterrent effect".

After the verdict was delivered Rohmat shared a giggle with his co-accused, Supono about his
seven-and-a-half year sentence, they're used to hearing about prospective jail time in whole years,
not fractions.

Rohmat says he plans to go back to his old friends after he's released.

(Sound of Rohmat Puji Prabowo talking)

As this is his second stint in jail, he says, he'll have to be cleverer about who he helps next
time around.

This is Matt Brown in Jakarta for AM.