This review is conducted under section 102.1A of the Criminal Code.
Section 102.1A provides that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the Committee) may review a regulation specifying an organisation as a terrorist organisation for the purpose of paragraph (b) of the definition of terrorist organisation in section 102.1 of the Criminal Code and report the Committee’s comments to each house of the Parliament before the end of the applicable disallowance period (15 sitting days).
The regulations listing Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) and Jama’at Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) as a terrorist organisations were made by the Federal Executive Council on 7 June 2018.
The regulations came into effect on 9 June 2018, the day after they were registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. The regulations were presented in both Houses of Parliament on 18 June 2018.
Regulations that specify an organisation as a terrorist organisation cease to have effect on the third anniversary of the day on which they take effect. Organisations can be re-listed, provided the Minister is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation continues to directly or indirectly engage in terrorism or advocate the doing of a terrorist act.
This is the first time JMB and JAD have been listed as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code.
The Committee’s review
The Committee’s procedures for reviewing terrorist listings were established in its first report, Review of the listing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Committee determined that the validity of the listing of a terrorist organisation should be tested on both the procedures and the merits. The Committee has followed this practice for all subsequent reviews and again adopted this approach for the purposes of this report.
Where an organisation is listed for the first time, the Committee will assess the adequacy and appropriateness of the evidence presented in the explanatory statement as well as the procedures followed by the Government.
Where an organisation is re-listed, the Committee expects the evidence presented to demonstrate a continuation of the requisite activities to satisfy the relevant tests specified in the Criminal Code (and outlined below).
Conduct of the inquiry
On 25 June 2018, the Minister for Home Affairs wrote to the Committee to advise of the decision to list JAD and JMB as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code. The Minister’s letter, including Statements of Reasons and the process of listing undertaken by the Department of Home Affairs, was accepted as Submission 1 to the review and is available on the Committee’s website.
A private hearing with representatives from the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was held in Canberra on 28 June 2018. Appendix A lists witnesses appearing at the hearing. The Department of Home Affairs responded to a matter taken on notice from the private hearing. The response was accepted as Submission 2, and is available on the Committee’s website. A classified response to a matter taken on notice was also received from ASIO.
It is the practice of the Committee to conduct classified hearings with agencies so that evidence presented can be interrogated in more detail, as required. Some unclassified statements from the hearing may be included in this report to support the Committee’s findings.
Notice of the review was placed on the Committee’s website and a media release was issued on 29 June 2018. No additional submissions were received by the Committee.
The remainder of this chapter will examine the Government’s procedures for listing JAD and JMB as terrorist organisations, and examine the merits of the listings based on the evidence provided to the Committee.
The Government’s procedures
An attachment to the Minister for Home Affairs’ letter outlined the procedures followed by the Department of Home Affairs—with input from other agencies—for the listing of JAD and JMB. This document is available on the Committee’s website as an attachment to Submission 1.
The Committee reviewed these procedures and noted that the regulations entered into effect the day after registration. Since 2008, agreed practice has been that when an organisation is listed for the first time, the regulations would enter into force after the 15 sitting day disallowance period has concluded. However, flexibility was maintained so that in circumstances where the Minister considered a listing should commence immediately, this could occur. In his letter, the Minister for Home Affairs advised that in the case of JAD and JMB, the regulations came into effect the day after registration due to
the emerging threat within our region and to ensure law enforcement and intelligence agencies are able to act swiftly against perpetrators of terrorism, including Jemaah Anshorut Daulah and Jama’at Mujahideen Bangladesh … If regulations were delayed, commencement would not occur until August 2018.
The Committee notes that the agreed practice of the regulations entering into force after the conclusion of the 15 sitting day disallowance period did not occur on this occasion. The Committee makes further comment about this process at the conclusion of the Report.
At the private hearing, the Committee questioned why JAD and JMB had not been listed earlier given they had been operating as terrorist organisations for three and 20 years respectively. Witnesses responded that although JAD and JMB had been active for a period of time, the catalyst for listing was that both organisations had, in recent times, demonstrated a shift in capability or intent.
Overall, the Committee considered the procedures undertaken by the Government to be appropriate.
Merits of the listing
The criteria for listing an organisation
For an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation under section 102.1(2) of the Criminal Code, the Minister must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:
is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act, or
advocates the doing of a terrorist act.
In addition to these legislative criteria, when preparing the Statement of Reasons, ASIO may have regard to non-legislative factors, including:
ideology and links to other terrorist groups or networks,
threats to Australian interests,
proscription by the United Nations Security Council or like-minded countries, and
engagement in peace/mediation processes.
For each listing, both the legislative and non-legislative factors are addressed in the Statement of Reasons provided to the Minister of Home Affairs by ASIO.
The Committee was first advised of ASIO’s evaluation process, including its use of non-legislative factors, in 2005. As has been the approach in past reviews, the Committee has used these criteria to assess the appropriateness and adequacy of the evidence provided.
In reviewing the merits of the listing, the Committee has taken into account the Minister for Home Affairs’ explanatory statement, ASIO’s Statement of Reasons, evidence provided at the private hearing on 28 June 2018 and other publicly available information.
Jemaah Anshorut Daulah
According to the Statement of Reasons, JAD was formed in 2015 by Abu Bakar Ba’asyir when he and his associates from al-Qa‘ida aligned group Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of proscribed terrorist group Islamic State. JAD is the largest pro-Islamic State group in Indonesia, acting as an umbrella organisation for smaller pro-Islamic State extremist groups and supporters.
JAD’s primary objective is the establishment of an Islamic State under Sharia law in Indonesia. Since pledging allegiance to Islamic State, JAD has conducted increasingly violent acts to achieve its goals, including suicide bombings.
Aman Abdurrahman is the current leader of JAD. He, and other senior JAD members including Iman Dharmawan, Zaenal Anshori and Musola Bin Rasim, are incarcerated in prison in Indonesia on terrorism related offences.According to multiple open source articles, Abdurrahman was sentenced to death on 22 June 2018 for inciting numerous terror attacks in Indonesia, including a gun and suicide-bomb attack in Jakarta in 2016 that killed four bystanders.
JAD’s current membership numbers are unknown. Its membership is susceptible to fluctuation as members may move between extremist groups. However, it has branches across the Indonesian archipelago and is a ‘natural partner’ for Indonesians wishing to travel to Syria/Iraq to join the Islamic State, for frustrated travellers who have been denied the opportunity to travel, and for those who have returned to Indonesia from the conflict zone.
JAD is also known as Jamaah Ansharet Daulat; Jamaah Ansharud Daulah; Jamaah Ansharut Daulah; and Jamaah Ansharut Daulat.
JAD has not previously been proscribed as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code.
Engaging in terrorism
JAD has engaged in a number of terrorist attacks against police and civilian targets in Indonesia. Recent examples of attacks for which JAD is responsible, or can be reliably held responsible include:
on 14 May 2018, a family of five conducted a suicide bombing attack at a police station in Surabaya, East Java, wounding seven. Police raided the residence of another individual and located six improvised explosive devices (IEDs),
on 13 May 2018, a family of six conducted coordinated suicide bombing attacks on three churches in Surabaya, killing 13 people and wounding over 40,
on 8 May 2018, five counter-terrorism officers from the Indonesian National Police’s Detachment 88 were killed during a riot at a mobile brigade headquarters detention facility in Depok, south-west of Jakarta. The rioters were individuals detained for terrorism offences,
on 11 February 2018, an extremist attacked a church congregation in Yogyakarta with a sword, wounding four civilians,
on 31 December 2017, an extremist threw Molotov cocktails at police in Makassar,
on 24 May 2017, two suicide bombers attacked a police post in Kampung Melayu, killing three police officers, and
on 14 January 2016, four people were killed and 25 wounded following an attack by a suicide bomber and gunmen in central Jakarta.
JAD has advocated the doing of terrorist acts, including in January 2016, when Abdurrahman issued a directive urging extremists to emigrate to the Islamic State in Syria, conduct jihad wherever they were located, encourage others to conduct jihad, or, provide finances in support of others undertaking jihad.
The Statement of Reasons notes that the term ‘jihad’ in this context is an assessed reference to conducting terrorist acts.
JAD follows an extreme interpretation of Islam which is anti-Western, promotes sectarian violence and classifies those who do not agree with its interpretation as legitimate targets for attack. JAD’s members include those who were previously aligned with other Indonesia-based Islamist extremist groups, including Jemaah Islamiyah, JAT and Mujahidin Indonesia Timur. Given its allegiance to Islamic State, attacks conducted by JAD are often claimed by Islamic State.
There are no known links of security concern between JAD and Australia. However, given JAD’s use of indiscriminate tactics—including suicide bombings—it is possible that Australians or Australian interests could be targeted by or caught up in future attacks. This is of particular concern given the considerable number of Australian interests in Indonesia.
JAD is listed by the United States and the United Kingdom as a terrorist organisation.
JAD is not engaged in any peace or mediation processes.
Jama’at Mujahideen Bangladesh
JMB was formed in 1998 by Sheikh Abdur Rahman. It aims to establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and broader South Asia through violent means. In 2015, JMB established greater linkages with proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State. The November 2015 issue of Islamic State’s propaganda magazine, Dabiq, stated that several militant groups in Bangladesh had come under the leadership of JMB.
JMB subscribes to an anti-Western ideology and considers religious minorities and non-Muslim foreigners to be legitimate targets for attack.
JMB is also known as Islamic State-Bangladesh; Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-Bangladesh; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Bangladesh; Jamaat Mujahideen Bangladesh; Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh; Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh; Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh; and, Neo-JMB.
Engaging in terrorism
JMB has undertaken a number of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh since its formation. Attacks in Bangladesh claimed by Islamic State are also likely to have been conducted by JMB members. Attacks conducted by, or reasonably attributable to, JMB include:
on 25 March 2017, JMB members killed six people and injured more than 50 others in a suicide attack in Sylhet, eastern Bangladesh,
on 17 March 2017, JMB conducted a suicide attack against a Rapid Action Battalion camp in Dhaka. The assailant was the sole casualty of the attack,
on 1 July 2016, five JMB members killed 22 people, including 18 foreigners, at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka,
on 25 December 2015, a JMB suicide bomber attacked an Ahmadi mosque in Dhaka, injuring three people,
on 18 November 2015, JMB members killed an Italian priest in Mirzapur, northwest of Dhaka,
on 23-24 October 2015, one person was killed and at least 60 injured in a suicide bombing attack at a Shi’ite mosque in Dhaka,
on 5 October 2015, Christian priest Luke Sarkar was attacked and six suspected members of JMB were arrested in relation to the incident,
on 3 October 2015, JMB militants attacked and killed Japanese national Kunio Hoshi in Kaunia, northern Bangladesh,
on 28 September 2015, JMB militants killed Italian national Cesare Tavella in Dhaka,
on 17 August 2005, JMB conducted a series of 459 synchronised bombings across Bangladesh, killing three people and injuring more than 100 others, and
on 13 February 2003, JMB reportedly conducted seven bombing attacks in Dinajpur, injuring three people.
In addition to these attacks, a number of JMB members—believed to have been at various stages of planning and preparing for terrorist attacks—have been killed or arrested:
on 1 February 2018, two suspected JMB members were arrested in India with 50 kilograms of explosives. They were suspected of planting IEDs targeting the Dalai Lama during his January 2018 visit to India,
on 12 January 2018, three JMB militants were killed by Bangladeshi counter-terrorism authorities in Dhaka. The group planned to attack key establishments in Dhaka,
on 31 October 2017, Bangladeshi police arrested a pilot with state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines on suspicion of planning with JMB members to crash a plane into the homes of politicians or to take passengers hostage,
on 5 September 2017, Bangladeshi police killed JMB militant Mir Akramul Karim Abdullah who was believed to have been planning to conduct a large-scale attack using explosives. Police seized related material during the raid,
on 15 August 2017, Bangladesh police conducted a raid at Hotel Olio in Bangladesh when a suspected JMB militant detonated an explosive device. Bangladeshi officials claimed the militant planned to conduct an attack later that day on a crowd gathering for National Mourning Day,
on 8 October 2016, twelve JMB members were killed in a series of raids, during which police discovered firearms and ammunition, sharp weapons, bomb-making materials and jihadi literature,
on 29 August 2016, two senior JMB members were killed in a police raid. During the raid, police found a pistol, ammunition, two homemade bombs, other bomb-making materials and a knife, and
on 27 August 2016, three JMB members were killed in a police raid, at which police found an AK-22 rifle, one pistol, ammunition and four live grenades.
JMB has publicly advocated terrorist attacks in order to further its objectives. The April 2016 edition of Dabiq outlined Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif’s calls for Bangladeshis to perform violent jihad as it is an ‘obligation on every capable Muslim’. Al-Hanif—assessed to be identical with senior JMB member Sarwar Jahan—was the leader of the extremist cell responsible for conducting the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery on 1 July 2016.
JMB is aligned with Islamic State. During the July 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack, the JMB members responsible for the attack received advice from a Syria-based Islamic State member.
JMB subscribes to Islamic State’s anti-Western ideology and has been responsible for a number of attacks on Western targets, as outlined above. JMB would consider Australians to be legitimate targets for attack. In particular, the July 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack took place in an area where many Western diplomatic missions, including the Australian High Commission, are located.
JMB is proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the United States under the name ISIS-Bangladesh, and also in the United Kingdom.
JMB is not participating in peace or mediation processes.
The Committee considered the publicly available material to support the listing of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah and Jama’at Mujahideen Bangladesh, and also held a private classified hearing with relevant agencies.
The Committee is satisfied that appropriate processes have been followed and concludes that Jemaah Anshorut Daulah and Jama’at Mujahideen Bangladesh meet the definition of a terrorist organisation, namely that these organisations:
are directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act, or
advocate the doing of a terrorist act.
However, the Committee notes that the regulations came into effect upon registration rather than after the disallowance period. The Committee notes that the intent of the legislation is for the Committee to be able to conduct a review during the disallowance period and therefore prior to the regulations coming into effect. Such a process ensures appropriate oversight. The capacity for regulations to come into effect immediately is provided to address exceptional circumstances. The committee has previously noted that it is its clear expectation that this should be the exception and not the norm.
Accordingly, in those circumstances where there is a clear need for those regulations to come into effect immediately, then a case specific to that listing should be made to the Committee. The Committee expects this process to be followed in future listings.
Overall, the Committee supports the listing Jemaah Anshorut Daulah and Jama’at Mujahideen Bangladesh as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code and finds no reason to disallow the legislative instruments.
Mr Andrew Hastie MP