Indonesia plans to expand preventive counterterrorism powers following deadly attacks last week, including barring citizens from fighting for Islamic State overseas and allowing for longer detention of suspects, officials said Tuesday. Antiterrorism laws and regulations in the Southeast Asian nation “need expansion in the areas of prevention,” said Zulkifli Hasan, speaker of the full assembly of parliament, who took part in a meeting of the country’s political and judicial leaders against a backdrop of demands to tighten security measures.
President Joko Widodo told reporters that the takes were “preliminary”’ and declined to comment on the proposed changes or set a timetable. Security officials have long said that the country’s antiterrorism laws are weak on measures such as detention, setting too high a bar for the evidence required to detain suspects. Police complain they can only arrest suspects once they have committed a crime, such as buying explosives, and are unable to hold suspected militants in preventive detention long enough to develop cases.
In Indonesia, it isn’t illegal to be a member of Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or to fight for the militant group abroad.