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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Indonesia to review anti-terrorism laws

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo is considering a regulation that would prohibit Indonesians from joining radical groups overseas, in an effort to prevent a deadlier attack than last week's militant assault on Jakarta.

At a meeting on Tuesday at the palace, top political and security officials agreed to review anti-terrorism laws, which currently allow Indonesians to freely return home after fighting with Islamic State in Syria.

Security forces fear that returning jihadis could launch a much more calculated attack than the amateurish assault militants launched on Thursday using two pistols and eleven low-yield homemade bombs. Eight people were killed in the attack, including the four attackers.

"We've agreed to review the terrorism law to focus on prevention," parliamentary speaker Zulkifli Hasan told Reuters.

"Currently there is nothing in the law covering training. There is also nothing currently covering people going overseas (to join radical groups) and returning. This needs to be broadened."

Proposed revisions would also tighten prison sentences for terrorism offences, he said.

Widodo said discussions on the new regulation, which would be a stop-gap measure until parliament can revise its anti-terrorism law, were still at "an early stage".

"This is very pressing. Many people have left for Syria or returned," he said, but did not say when a decision would be made.

By Aubrey Belford

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