Jakarta suicide bomb
Indonesian policemen investigate the blast site after a series of explosions hit the Indonesia capital Oscar Siagian/ Getty Images file photo

A radical Indonesian Islamic cleric faces the death penalty as a court indicted him for allegedly masterminding the Jakarta bombing in 2016 which killed four people. Aman Abdurrahman's trial began on Thursday, 15 February, after he was formally charged with terrorism-related offences.

A series of attacks took place in Indonesia in 2016 including a coordinated gun and suicide bomb assault. Four militants died in the attack as they were either shot or detonated themselves. This was the first major terror attack in Muslim-majority Indonesia since the 2009 twin bombings.

Prosecutor Anita Dewayani told the court that Aman, 46, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis) in 2014 and revealed there were also several terror plots. According to the indictment document, Aman "deliberately used violence or threats to create terror among the general public and caused mass casualties [...] or caused damage".

She told the court that Aman had frequently preached that democracy is anti-Islamic and as sinful as idolatry in Islam urging his Muslim followers to "rectify" the system. Dewayani read out the names of those who were killed in the January 2016 attack in the Indonesian capital. The Jakarta bombing was the first-ever attack carried out by the Isis in Southeast Asia.

Dressed in orange clothes, Aman arrived in the court handcuffed and he showed little emotion during the proceedings. He refused to hire a lawyer forcing the court to appoint one. Cell phone records showed that Aman was in close contact with the Jakarta attackers.

"The defendant incited others to commit various terror acts," Dewayani told reporters following the courtroom proceedings. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on 23 February and Aman faces the death penalty if convicted. Indonesia has been struggling to handle rising Islamic radicalism in the last decade, which has witnessed terror attacks and plots by extremists.