Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government is preparing to effect a revision in Law No. 15 Year 2003 on counter-terrorism, following a terror attack in the heart of Jakarta, not too far from the Presidential Palace, on January 14.

Eight people, including one Canadian and four perpetrators died, and 25 others, including five police officers, one Dutch national, one Austrian, one German and one Algerian national were injured in the attack carried out by a radical group led by Bahrun Naim, allegedly linked to the ISIS.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo Indonesia said the country is currently in a state of "emergency" against terrorism and called on every party to seriously work towards preventing radicalism, lest it leads to terrorism, at an early stage.

"This (country) could fail if it is not tackled. Shooting and bombing occurred at a distance of one kilometer from the State Palace. No one thought this could happen. Who would have thought that the ISIS could be in Indonesia so soon?" Minister Kumolo said, addressing a number of governors, district heads and mayors in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, on Jan. 22.

The government is deliberating upon granting preemptive powers to the police to enable it to better tackle radical movements.

"The point is that we want to grant preemptive powers, possibly to the police, to enable security officers to make temporary arrests, detaining suspects for a week or two," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan stated at the presidential palace complex in Jakarta, on Jan. 19.

He said the draft revision to amend the anti-terrorism law will be completed next Tuesday (January 26) for deliberations at the House of Representatives (DPR).

Panjaitan earlier remarked that apart from the planned revision of the law on terrorism, the government is also considering a move to revise the law on intelligence to allow intelligence agencies to arrest terrorists.

"It is worth considering. We have reviewed the general regulations. The suspects can be detained for 10 days and can then be released. Yes, why not?" the minister affirmed.

Chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) Sutiyoso has asked for a revision of the law on intelligence to allow the agency to arrest terrorists.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung stated at the presidential office on Jan. 19 that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) chaired a meeting attended by leaders of state institutions such as the Parliament and the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR), to discuss the need to revise relevant regulations to prevent radicalism.

Indonesia will compare its radicalism prevention regulations with those implemented in other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, he noted.

As Indonesia is a democratic country, however, President Jokowi advised that the principle of the presumption of innocence and human rights must be given priority as the country plans to revise its anti-terrorism law.

The President also asked the Minister of Information and Communication to immediately shut down internet accounts spreading radicalism.

Besides, Jokowi ordered the Minister of Justice and Human Rights to restore order at penitentiaries, to prevent them from being used to spread radicalism.

"Based on various reports, it has emerged that one of the sources of radicalism were penitentiaries, besides direct indoctrination," he said.

Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly noted that he would consider a plan to put up all terrorists in a penitentiary exclusively for them.

"We have several ideas, including putting them on an island and ensuring maximum security, or have them all scattered at a number of locations, but always putting them in a special block that has a super tight security," he said.

He added that he has instructed the Director General of Penitentiary to study the idea of having a special penitentiary for terrorists.

Tempo.co reported on Jan 19 that Minister Panjaitan had earlier also proposed setting up a prison exclusively for terrorists in Indonesia.

The idea of having an exclusive prison for terrorists, however, has been opposed by some legislators, and also by Vice President M Jusuf Kalla.

"I believe that a special prison for terrorists is not the solution for such individuals to seek repentance or to stop engaging in acts of terror," Arsul Sani, a member of the DPRs Commission III said.

An exclusive prison will only become a place for such people to get together and have even more solidarity among themselves, he remarked.

The politician from the United Development Party (PPP) cited the example of the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison located in Cuba, which failed to de-radicalize terrorists.

Nasir Djamil, another lawmaker from Commission III, also disagreed with the idea of setting up a prison only for terrorists.

He suggested that terrorists should be placed in existing prisons but in separate cells.

Djamil affirmed that the spread of radicalism could be prevented by carrying out equitable and fair development in certain regions, such as eastern Indonesia, and by effective intelligence gathering.

"So, there are several aspects we need to take into account while discussing terrorism and not only de-radicalization. Using repressive means to fight radicalism would only increase their number," he pointed out.

Coordination among several institutions is needed to guide and de-radicalize terrorists in prisons, instead of putting the onus only on the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, he added.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla also disagreed with the move for a special prison for terrorists, saying it will only facilitate the spread of radicalism.

"It would be more dangerous. Our prisons could transform into terrorist universities if we build special prisons," he stated.

In the meantime, Hibnu Nugroho, a legal expert at the University of General Soedirman in Purwokerto, Central Java, reminded that any revision effected in the existing law must not curtail freedom.

If the government revises the anti-terrorism law, it must heed the aspirations of the people and advocates of human rights.

In addition, he said there was a need to resist the temptation to grant any authority to the intelligence service officers to arrest individuals on grounds of being terror suspects.

"It is not necessary to grant authority to any intelligence agency to arrest suspected terrorists. It is dangerous as we are living in an era of freedom of expression and openness," he pointed out.

Former chairman of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Rafendi Djamin, underlined the importance of preventing terrorism by upholding the principles of human rights, which include no torture or violation of privacy.

The Indonesian human rights activist also believes that terrorism could only be overcome through international and regional cooperation.

In response to questions from the media, Minister Luhut assured that the draft of the revised counter-terrorism law being prepared by the government is softer than the anti-terrorism acts in Malaysia and Singapore.

Malaysia and Singapore have tagged the terror suspects who were caught with GPS (Global Positioning System) devices to track their movements.

Indonesia would not treat terror suspects in the same manner as some neighboring countries have been doing, Luhut Panjaitan guaranteed.

"Yes, if we need to make an arrest, we will do it, but we will not be as harsh as Malaysia or Singapore. (We are) Not there yet," the retired general said.

The revision of the law, however, was being carried out in such a manner that it would accord more priority to ensuring security for Indonesian citizens from acts of terror rather than worrying about criticism from human rights NGOs, the security minister said.


Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
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