Indonesians on trial over 'evil' Myanmar embassy plot

JAKARTA - Two suspected Indonesian extremists went on trial Monday accused of an "evil conspiracy" to bomb the Myanmar embassy to avenge the killing of Rohingya Muslims in that country.

Rokhadi, 28 and Achmad Taufiq, 22, could face the death penalty over the plan to attack the mission in May, amid anger in Muslim-majority Indonesia at persecution of the stateless Rohingya in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

Rokhadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, allegedly raised funds for the attack while Taufiq is accused of helping assemble bombs.

Police say they foiled the plot when they arrested Taufiq, who was carrying a backpack full of pipe bombs, along with another man riding a motorbike in south Jakarta the night before the planned attack.

"The accused carried out an evil conspiracy," prosecutor Okto Ricardo told the South Jakarta District Court.

The men "wanted to bomb the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta so that there would be casualties, injuries and damage" to put pressure on the government in Myanmar, whom they blamed for the attacks on the Rohingya, Ricardo said.

There have been a string of attacks on minority Muslims in Myanmar since last year, mostly in the Rohingyas' western home state of Rakhine. Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands made homeless.

Buddhist mobs are seen as the main perpetrators behind the attacks although rights groups have also accused Myanmar security forces of complicity in the violence -- an allegation denied by the authorities.

Rokhadi and Taufiq are just two of several men who have been apprehended over the attacks. The trials of the accused got under way last week with the case of Separiano, who goes by one name.

Rokhadi and Taufiq were tried separately on Monday but some of the charges against them were identical.

The prosecutor told the court the men were part of an extremist group called Negara Islam Indonesia (the Islamic State of Indonesia).

Rokhadi is accused of transferring 300,000 rupiah ($26) to the alleged mastermind of the plot, Sigit Indrajid, to buy a blender and hydrogen peroxide to help make bombs.

Taufiq joined Indrajid and Separiano to mix together a highly combustible blend of chemicals that was placed into pipes, the court heard.

Rokhadi and Taufiq have been charged under tough anti-terror laws which carry the death penalty.

Rokhadi faces four charges, including conspiracy to commit an act of terror and fund-raising for terror activities, while Taufiq faces two charges.

Indrajid has also been detained over the plot and will go on trial next week.