Updated: 11/14/2013 00:08 | By Agence France-Presse

Indonesian 'mastermind' of Myanmar embassy plot goes on trial

The alleged mastermind of a plot to bomb the Myanmar embassy in Indonesia led a group of Islamic extremists intent on avenging the "massacre" of Rohingya Muslims, a court heard Wednesday.


Indonesian 'mastermind' of Myanmar embassy plot goes on trial

An Indonesian armoured police vehicle waits outside the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta, on May 3, 2013

Sigit Indrajid, 23, is the fourth person to go on trial this week over the plan to attack the mission in Jakarta in May and could face the death penalty if found guilty.

The plot was a sign of rising anger in Muslim-majority Indonesia at the plight of the persecuted Rohingya in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, many of whom have died in sectarian unrest since last year.

The attack was foiled on May 2, the day before it was due to take place, when police arrested two men on a motorbike carrying a backpack full of pipe-bombs.

Prosecutor Heru Anggoro told the South Jakarta District Court on Wednesday at the start of Indrajid's trial that the suspect had called his accomplices to his house in April to outline the plan.

"He invited them to carry out an attack on the Myanmar embassy in retaliation for the massacre of Rohingya Muslims", he said, reading out the charges against him.

"The actions of the accused and his group members could have resulted in casualties and sparked fear and trauma in the community."

Indrajid met some of his accomplices on Facebook, where he posted messages about the need to avenge the killing of the Rohingya, Anggoro told the court.

Two days before the planned attack, the group -- part of a network called Negara Islam Indonesia (The Islamic State of Indonesia) -- gathered to construct the bombs out of easily available chemicals.

The night before, the alleged mastermind and another man waited in central Jakarta near the embassy for their accomplices to arrive on motorbike with the bombs.

But police got there first, arresting the two men as they drove to the rendezvous, the prosecutor said.

When he found out what had happened, Indrajid, who was radicalised after attending sermons by an extremist preacher at a central Jakarta mosque, fled to Lampung province on western Sumatra island. 

But he was arrested at a port in Jakarta on May 22 as he attempted to return to the capital.

Indrajid faces three charges under tough anti-terror laws that carry the death penalty, including conspiracy to commit an act of terror.

There have been a string of attacks on minority Muslims in Myanmar since last year, mostly in the Rohingya's western home state of Rakhine. Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands made homeless.

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