Two top leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which is an Al- Qaeda-linked extremist group that masterminded 2002 Bali bombing, were sentenced to imprisonment on Monday, July 20 in Indonesia on terror charges linked to sending militants to fight in Syria.

While the leader of the extremist group Para Wijayanto was handed seven years of jail term, JI's deputy Budi Trikaryanto was sentenced six-and-a-half years of imprisonment at a Jakarta court hearing done by video conference due to Coronavirus pandemic. The case against the convicts included the charge of belonging to a banned organization.

The presiding judge Alex Adam Faisal told the East Jakarta District Court that the defendants prepared cadres from Indonesia to go to Syria and supported them financially during the mission.

The conviction came weeks after a couple with links to the Islamic State was sentenced to jail over a failed assassination bid to murder Indonesia's former chief security minister Wiranto in 2019.

The Extremists in Indonesia

As per the court papers, the 56-year-old Wijayanto became the leader of the extremist group in 2009. Later, he started recruiting Indonesians to fight and train with groups, including an Al-Qaeda linked organization.

Wijayanto's organization JI was banned in 2008 by Indonesia. The authorities also cracked down on its network as the world's largest Muslim majority country struggled with a string of extremist attacks. However, in recent years, JI has been overshadowed by militant groups loyal to Islamic State (IS).

The bombings in Bali, which is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Southeast Asian region, were Indonesia's deadliest terrorists attack that took place in 2002 and resulted in over 200 fatalities. It was reported that most of the victims were foreigners from more than 20 countries and Australia alone lost 88 citizens.

Bali Bombing
Bali Bombing Memorial Wikimedia commons

After the massacre, JI continued a string of deadly terror attacks, including a 2003 car bombing at Jakarta's JW Marriott hotel, which killed dozens of people. One year later, the extremist group also organized a suicide car bombing outside the Australian embassy.