Indonesian terrorists to be sent to `terror rehab` schools

Report has found offenders were likely to return to extremist organisations.

Updated: Jun 01, 2010, 16:08 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Convicted terrorists in Indonesia will be sent to "terror rehab" schools after a report found offenders were likely to return to extremist organisations.

The rehabilitation centres will help convicted terrorists start new lives by helping them to set up businesses, send their children to government schools and by giving them access to religious counselling from moderate Muslim mullahs.

"The plan is to rehabilitate and prevent future attacks. The new National Board on Anti-terrorism is still in the early stages, but we hope to introduce it later in the year," said Brigadier General Tito Karnavian, head of Densus 88, Indonesia`s counter-terrorism squad.

The establishment of the rehabilitation centres comes in the wake of the discovery in February of a large terrorist training camp in Aceh, the north-western province that is governed by Islamic law.

Of the 73 men arrested in Aceh, 14 had previous convictions, raising fears that Indonesian prisons are breeding grounds for extremists.

Mobile phone conference calls between multiple prisoners and hardline Islamic preachers and the grooming of new recruits are common in the country’s jails, according to terrorism analysts.

"The Aceh discovery was a wake up call for the government and these rehabilitation centres are a step in the right direction, but corruption in the prison system is so deep that even with political will, it will be hard," said Sidney Jones, director of International Crisis Group, South East Asia.