1 1/2 years’ jail for S’pore JI chief


The head of the Singapore branch of the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist network was yesterday sentenced to 1 1/2 years’ jail in Indonesia for immigration violations.

Mas Selamat Kastari, who is wanted in Singapore in connection with a plot to crash a plane into Changi Airport and other terror-related activities, was arrested in Bintan island in February.

In sentencing him, the district court of Dumai did not rule on whether he should be extradited to Singapore.

Mas Selamat has also been accused of plotting to bomb several other Singapore targets, including a United States naval facility, water supply pipelines from Malaysia, Jurong Island and the Ministry of Defence headquarters.

He appeared to have got off lightly here, with the authorities taking action against him on a charge of falsifying immigration documents.

Indonesian intelligence officials refused to say if a deal had been struck with the Singapore-born Mas Selamat.

The Straits Times understands that he might have received a lower sentence after giving information on JI operations and fugitive leader Riduan Isamuddin alias Hambali.

Indeed, while giving testimony at the treason trial of JI’s spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir, he pointed the finger at Hambali for being the mastermind of the plot to blow up a US vessel at the Changi naval base.

Intelligence officials told The Straits Times then that his disclosure was significant in revealing the extent of Hambali’s role in the operations.

Court officials said there was no extraditing Mas Selamat to Singapore because the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

But observers say he will have no choice but to surrender to Singapore authorities after serving his prison sentence.

Noted one well-placed observer: ‘He won’t have much room to wiggle his way out of this. The Indonesians are certainly not going to let him stay on in the country indefinitely. Where is he going to run after this?’

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