Indonesia's police on Sunday released most of the suspected jihadis detained a day earlier. The news comes as concerns in the country grow over the weakness of the current anti-terror law.
Thirty-eight people were taken into custody Saturday during raids conducted by anti-terrorism squad in the remote slopes of Mount Sumbing in Central Java province, police spokesman Col. Liliek Darmanto said, according to the Associated Press (AP). The men were found attending a military style-training at a suspected jihadi camp.
Most of the detained men were released after 24-hour questioning as police failed to prove terrorism-related allegations against them despite seizing air rifles, knives, and jihadi books and flags during the raid, the AP reported.
“This is the weakness of our laws,” Said Usman Nasution, head of the anti-terrorism agency, reportedly said. “We cannot arrest before they have committed a crime even though we can detect a radical network.”
Indonesian police also arrested five other suspected militants late Friday in Malang, a city in East Java province, local police chief Lt. Col. Yudho Nugroho, said, according to the AP. Police said that the raid was conducted after they received tips during questioning of suspects linked to last month’s attacks in Jakarta.
Authorities have urged the government to strengthen the anti-terrorism law, following the suicide and gun attacks in Indonesia’s capital city on Jan. 14 that left eight people dead, including four attackers.
In the aftermath of the attacks, a new anti-terrorism law draft has been submitted by the government to parliament. According to the proposal, an individual suspected of plotting to carry out an attack or an act of terrorism can be detained for up to six months without charges, the AP reported, citing the draft bill.
The revised anti-terrorism bill is expected to be passed within the next two months, Luhut Pandjaitan, a Cabinet minister in charge of security and political affairs, told the AP.
The bill also states that any Indonesian, who plans to join overseas militant groups, including the Islamic State group, or recruits others, will be charged and punished with a maximum prison term of seven years. The proposed law will also authorize anti-terrorism squads to conduct raids and detain suspects based on intelligence reports.