Six Indonesian militants, who were accused of plotting to launch a rocket from Batam to Marina Bay in Singapore, were jailed on Wednesday for allegedly harbouring two Uighurs who entered the country to fight with extremists linked to the Islamic State (IS) group.
However, Judge Tarigan Muda Limbong said that there was not enough evidence to prove the rocket plot. Last year, the militants were detained after authorities foiled the alleged IS-linked plot to shoot a rocket at an up-market waterfront district of Singapore from the nearby Indonesian island of Batam.
The court found the militants convicted of harbouring the Uighurs, members of a mostly Muslim Chinese minority who complain of persecution in their homeland of Xinjiang, on Batam and hiding information about them.
Gigih Rahmat Dewa, the group's leader, was jailed for four years while the five other militants; Hadi Gusti Yanda, Tarmidzi, Eka Saputra, Trio Syafidro and Leonardo Hutajulu were each given a three-year jail term.
"The defendants have acted in an organised way and have deliberately aided terrorists," presiding judge Tarigan Muda Limbong told the West Jakarta district court. He also added that this is a violation of Indonesia anti-terrorism law.
The six militants were slapped with numerous charges including a conspiracy to commit terrorism, funding terror activities and harbouring militants in their trial that started in February. All six denied the charges against them.
The alleged plot to fire a rocket at Singapore's Marina Bay district was foiled in August last year. Authorities said the detained militants had hatched the plan with a leading Indonesian militant fighting with IS, who is accused of being behind a series of plots. However, it was not clear how advanced the plan was and analysts had expressed scepticism about the militants' capacity to carry it out.
According the reports, one of the Uighurs was arrested on the outskirts of Jakarta after making contact with local IS-linked militants. But, there are no reports about what happened to the second Uighur. He was believed to have been among several who entered Indonesia and tried to join an IS-linked group called Mujahideen of Eastern Indonesia on the central island of Sulawesi.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said earlier this month that the terror threat to Singapore remains at its highest in recent years. The authorities have asked Singaporeans to remain careful.
"Singapore was specifically targeted in the past year and the regional threat has heightened," MHA's first-ever national terrorism threat assessment report said. "Singapore has been cited as a target in jihadist publications and videos, by both the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) and other groups."