Islamic State fighters returning from Syria and Iraq slip through a loophole in Indonesian legislation, a terrorism researcher warns.
A terrorism researcher has warned that Indonesia’s laws are not sufficient to crack down on and prosecute Islamic State militants returning to the country.
Dr Solahudin, who is visiting lecturer at Melbourne University, told the ABC that Law 15 of the 2003 Eradicating Terrorism legislation — established following Bali bombings in October 2002 — had been under review for two years, but the process had been dogged by conflicts of interest from different authorities.
“The Government has been trying to revise the law, but the process has been very slow as the military wants to [be] involved,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Solahudin, who is also a researcher at the Centre for Terrorism and Conflict at the University of Indonesia, said authorities had limited legal tools available to crack down on those who had returned from Islamic State conflict areas like Syria and Iraq.
“The act of terrorism — to be a crime punishable under Indonesian law — has to take place in Indonesia, not overseas,” he said.
Hundreds of jihadists and their families have reportedly returned to Indonesia since the US-led offensive against the group began back in 2014.
Last year, Turkish authorities said the number of Indonesians captured after the dismantling of Islamic State’s caliphate had reached 435 people, including ex-combatants and their families.
Indonesian deputy national police chief General Syafruddin said at least seven former IS fighters were arrested in Turkey last year who had since been detained by Indonesian authorities.
“They have not been released yet,” General Syafruddin told local media.
General Syafruddin added that Indonesians should not be worried about the returnees, but he warned that terrorism was still a lingering threat.