Friday, March 26, 2010

Indonesian govt may allow jailed terrorists to have 'cell phones'

No-one seems to have picked up the on Jakarta Globe's equally bizarre and alarming story about the government's plan to allow convicted terrorists to have access to mobile phones.

The apparent move comes after a number of jailed terrorists were found to be in possession of mobile phones and laptops in their prison cells and communicating with active militant networks.

Well-respected terrorism analyst Sidney Jones is among those who argue that Indonesia's prisons have become a breeding ground for terrorism.

The response from Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar was to announce on Wednesday that, in future, all convicted terrorists would be allowed to have mobile phones in prison, according to the Globe.

“I am confirming that we will allow all terrorist suspects to have cellphones inside their cells as long as they ask permission from us,” he said.

However, he refused to explain this controversial policy. “I can’t talk about the reason because it is related to national secrets,” he said.

Given that there are documented cases of jailed terrorists helping plan militant activities using smuggled cell phones, this is either an incredibly stupid policy or a very clumsy attempt to get terrorists to use bugged phones.

I doubt there are many hardened jihadists who are naive enough to conduct illicit business on a phone given to them by the police.

The best explanation I can come up with is that the minister is merely inventing a policy to vindicate the status quo. Terrorists, drug dealers and fraudsters incarcerated in Indonesia's corrupt prisons can already get their hands on phones, laptops, TVs, prostitutes and whatever else they want for the right price.

The Globe has a more detailed analysis of the issue in today's paper.

Disclosure: I'm currently working as an editor at the Globe.


1 comment:

  1. It is a novel idea. Imagine the terrorists calling his pals and allowing it to be traced.
    If this becomes successful, the terrorists don't need to borrow cellphones, not when their pals are sharing the same cell. lol