For nearly 12 years, Upik Lawanga has been on death row for attempting to overthrow the Indonesian government and killing police and a soldier. According to the Guardian, he was acquitted of 12 other charges but convicted on one that carries a mandatory death sentence. He was sentenced to life in prison by the Indonesia’s highest court on Friday.
Lawanga was arrested and extradited to Indonesia in 2005 after he was linked to the bombing of two banks and a police station in the Javanese town of Makassar in 2002. Many had suspected the bombings were attempts by Islamic terrorists to undermine security, but Indonesia’s counterterrorism police, Paskal Mandiri, denied any connection. Lawanga, a member of the small right-wing militant group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), also tried to overthrow the government and assassinate President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Lawanga and another JAD member, Amin Rusli Yusuf, were accused of gathering weapons and planting bombs at a JAD training camp in the mountainous Ujung Kulon Province. One of the bombs went off and killed two police officers. According to the Guardian, the suicide attack was a propaganda stunt: it was designed to show the World Trade Center bombers in the United States that the Indonesian terrorists were similarly trained.
More than 30 other militants, though linked to JAD, have been sentenced for their involvement with the bombing and its aftermath. It was an attempt to overthrow the government and kill President Megawati that caused Wiranto, the current national police chief, to file charges against the 13 men.
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