Indonesian courts declared the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist organization Monday and sentenced two of its leaders to 15 years behind bars.
Abu Dujana, the group's military commander, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks, harboring fugitives and stockpiling illegal arms. Zarkasih, who judges said briefly acted as JI's caretaker leader in 2005, was found guilty of similar charges in a separate trial at the South Jakarta District Court.
Jemaah Islamiyah and its allies are accused of carrying out the 2002 bombings on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, a 2003 attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, a 2004 attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and 2005 triple suicide bombings on restaurants in Bali. Many of the more than 240 killed in the attacks were foreign tourists.
Neither Dujana nor Zarkasih — both of whom faced possible death sentences — were charged in connection with those bombings.
Dujana's conviction was over recent attacks on Christians on the eastern island of Sulawesi, which was plagued by religious violence from 1999 to 2001. He has condemned al-Qaida-style bombings, arguing they were counterproductive to Jemaah Islamiyah's reported aim of establishing Islamic law across the region.
Presiding Judge Wahjono, who like many Indonesians uses one name, sentenced Dujana to 15 years in prison, saying his recent public condemnations of terrorism had been taken into account. He also said he was convinced Dujana could play a role in helping reform other jailed terrorists.
Asked if he would appeal the ruling, Dujana, 37, said, "I'll think about it."
Judge Risdianto said Zarkasih, 45, was given a reduced sentence because he only served as a two-month caretaker leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, not the emir as had been alleged. The judge also cited his good behavior in prison.
The two judges also labeled Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist organization, a move that could make it easier for the Indonesian government to formally ban the group or secure convictions against its members.
The group was formed in the early 1990s as an offshoot of another militant network stretching back decades. Its core leadership fought or trained in Afghanistan and some came under the influence of al-Qaida.
A regional crackdown following the Bali attacks netted hundreds of members and sympathizers, severely weakening the group. Former members and analysts say the hardcore faction that carried out the bombings no longer operates under its command.