Jailed S’porean terror suspect ready to be extradited

Farouk Arnaz
The Jakarta Globe

A Singaporean jailed in Indonesia for immigration violations says he is ready to be extradited to face terrorism charges in the city-state.

Husaini bin Ismail, who spoke to the Jakarta Globe recently from prison in East Java, is wanted for his alleged involvement in a plot to hijack a plane in Bangkok and crash it into Singapore’s Changi Airport in 2001.

He arrived in Indonesia with other terrorism suspects by ship, landing in Medan in January 2002. He was arrested with his family in Solo in June last year while on the way home to Malang in East Java.

However, he was only charged and convicted for immigration violations and falsifying documents, and sentenced to three years in jail.

“God willing, I am ready to be sent back home anytime after I finish my sentence here,” he told the Globe. “But please release my sons and my wife, because they do not know anything about what I have done. It’s all my fault.”

Husaini’s sons, Lukman and Mukmin, are serving two-and-a-half year sentences in Lowokwaru Prison in Malang, while his wife, Rasidah, is also serving two-and-a-half years in Malang Women’s Prison. All were convicted of immigration violations.

“I had to leave Singapore at the time to avoid arrest,” Husaini said. “I chose Indonesia because, as a Malay, we have a similar culture compared to if I lived in Mindanao in the southern Philippines. My grandfather was also originally from Indonesia.”

When asked about what he knew about the hijack plot, Husaini said the plans for the attack had been “abstract” and were never finalized. “I believe the plan was inspired by what happened at the WTC,” he said, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.

But he said he had since come to realize that his actions had been wrong. “I realize this now after having done some reading during my imprisonment here,” he said. “Jihad is a holy war and there are rules when to act and when not to act.”

Meanwhile, National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri would receive the Distinguished Service Order from Singapore following the successful cooperation between these two countries, police spokesman Insp. Gen. Iskandar Hasan said.

“This includes that case [the arrest of Husaini] and other transnational cases in which we have had close cooperation recently,” he said.