Indonesia releases family detained for joining IS in Syria

AP News
Posted: Sep 14, 2017 6:23 AM
Indonesia releases family detained for joining IS in Syria

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian family that spent nearly two years with the Islamic State group in Syria has denounced IS militants as interested only in power, money and sex in a video released by Indonesia's counterterrorism agency.

The family, which included teenagers and young children, was detained at the agency's de-radicalization center near the capital, Jakarta, after returning to Indonesia with government help in mid-August. The agency said in a statement that 15 of 18 family members had been released on Wednesday.

Family members described IS as rotten, a "crocodile hole" and hated by God in the video posted on the agency's website.

In July, an Associated Press team in the Syrian city of Raqqa met with members of the family who were living in a camp for the displaced.

They said IS online media convinced them to expect an Islamic utopia when they traveled two years ago from Jakarta to IS's self-proclaimed capital but instead they found brutality and terror.

In the video, Heru Kurnia, 55, recounts how two weeks before they fled IS territory he saw a beheaded corpse hanging from a clock tower and children kicking the head like a football.

"It was said that there were free schools but when we arrived they asked to marry (the women). A lot of them even asked about my little girl. They said they should be notified if she menstruates," he said.

Indonesian authorities say several hundred Indonesians have joined IS as fighters in Syria and Iraq and key figures among them have encouraged sympathizers in Indonesia to carry out attacks. A 2015 Pew survey of Indonesians showed that 4 percent, or about 10 million people, had a favorable attitude toward IS.

"IS just fight for three things. They chase power, they chase treasure and they chase women," said 32-year-old Difansa Rachmani in the video.

"Everything there is rotten," she said.