In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Indonesian Islamic State cleric gets death sentence for Jakarta attack

Aman Aburrahman
An Indonesian cleric found guilty of masterminding a 2016 terror attack in Jakarta which left four civilians dead has been sentenced to death.

Aman Aburrahman was convicted of planning the attack which saw a suicide bomber blow himself up at a Starbucks.

The cleric, who had declared his support for the Islamic State (IS), is also the spiritual leader of a local extremist network.

The 2016 attack was the first linked to IS in Indonesia.

Aburrahman, 46, has been in prison since 2010 but the court heard he planned the attacks from his jail cell.

The attack saw a series of explosions hit the capital, with the Starbucks and a police security post among those hit by the blast.

The blasts centered around a major shopping and business district, close to foreign embassies and United Nations offices.

Gunmen were also holed up in the complex that housed the Starbucks, and gunfire was exchanged when police arrived.

Two attackers were killed in the shootout and two others blew themselves up.

The judge said in the sentencing on Friday that Abdurrahman had been proven guilty of "carrying out terrorism".

Abdurrahman had pleaded not guilty, saying he had inspired his followers to travel to Syria to fight with IS but had had not ordered attacks in Indonesia.

He is the spiritual leader behind the Indonesian-based Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) military group, which had previously pledged allegiance to IS, and considered to be the de facto head of IS supporters in Indonesia.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, has suffered militant attacks in the past but this was the first claimed by IS.

In June, a cluster of suicide attacks in Surabaya saw churches and police headquarters targeted.

At least 11 people died in an attack on three churches, making it the deadliest incident since 2005, when 20 people died in the Bali bombing.

The churches attack was carried out by a family of six - including two girls ages nine and 12.

Source: BBC News, June 22, 2018

Aman Abdurrahman's death sentence won't provoke retaliation: BIN

Aman Abdurrahman
The death penalty handed down to Islamic State (IS) ideologue Aman Abdurrahman will not provoke other jihadist movements to retaliate, State Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy chief Lt. Gen. Teddy Lhaksmana has said.

"I suppose it won't [cause a retaliation] and [such attacks] can be anticipated," Teddy told journalists in Jakarta on Friday.

"[However] staying vigilant is a must for everyone," he went on.

Aman, the de facto leader of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a local affiliate of the IS terror group, was found guilty of inciting several terror attacks in Indonesia and was given a death sentence by the South Jakarta District Court in a hearing on Friday.

The judges found him responsible for inciting others to carry out at least five terror attacks in Indonesia, including the Thamrin attacks in Central Jakarta in 2016 and the Kampung Melayu bombings in East Jakarta last year. Aman's teachings were behind the terror attacks, the judges said.

Aman denied that he was involved in the attack, despite admitting that he had urged his followers to go to Syria to join the IS in its quest to establish a global caliphate.

Source: Jakarta Post, Marguerite Afra Sapiee, June 22, 2018

Indonesian terror leader Aman Abdurrahman 'grateful' for death penalty

An Indonesian court has sentenced radical Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman to death by firing squad for inspiring his followers to commit a wave of terror attacks.

Judge Ahmad Zaini handed down the death penalty at South Jakarta District Court on Friday.

The cleric, also known as Oman Rochman, was on trial for ordering 5 terror attacks carried out by Islamic State-inspired militants known as JAD between 2016-17, including the 2016 Jakarta bombing.

Abdurrahman is considered JAD's de facto leader. JAD or JAT, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid, is a splinter cell of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group responsible for the Bali bombing in 2002 and the attack on the Australian embassy in 2004.

A statement from the panel of 5 judges said: "the defendant's religious outreach inspired his followers to commit terrorism so the defendant must take responsibility."

After the judgement, Abdurrahman immediately stood up, faced the rows of journalists sitting behind him and bowed his head down as if in gratitude. Armed guards quickly surrounded him to block cameras from capturing the gesture.

His lawyer Asludin Hatjani told journalists: "we can translate that as being grateful."

Abdurrahman then told the judge he did not accept nor reject the sentence.

Mr Hatjani told the court they would consider what legal steps to take, though Abdurrahman waved his hand, apparently rejecting that statement.

Judge Zaini said they have 7 days to accept, reject or appeal the sentence.

In addition to the Jakarta bombing that killed 4 civilians, Abdurrahman was found guilty of masterminding a bus terminal bombing in Kampung Melayu, a church bombing that killed 1 child and burnt several in Samarinda, the stabbing of a police officer in Medan and the shooting of a police officer in Bima, all in 2017.

Indonesian prosecutors had called for the death penalty in May.

Prosecutor Anita Dewayani, said at the time: "the defendant is legally and convincingly guilty and we demand the panel of judges to impose death sentence."

Friday's sentence is the 1st death penalty in 13 years given in a terrorism case.

The last was issued to Iwan Darmawan Muntho, also known as Rois, for his involvement in the Australian embassy bombing.

Centre for Radicalism and De-radicalism Studies director Adhe Bhakti said he feared Abdurraham's followers may retaliate after the verdict.

"Definitely they will be because the man's words were capable of inciting people to commit terrorism, let alone if this man is executed," he said.

"They may carry out violent acts.

"But I'm sure security people will increase security measures and I think all intelligence agencies should also increase better coordination."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Karuni Rompies & Anna Prytz, June 22, 2018

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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