LAKSAMANA.Net, May 31, 2004 12:00 AM
Review - Regions: Amnesty Blasts Military
Laksamana.Net - Six suspected Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist rebels were
killed Thursday (27/5/04), as Amnesty International warned that the continuing military
campaign in Aceh had caused "a marked deterioration" in the province's human rights
The six were shot in separate incidents across the province, said army spokesman
Lt. Col. Asep Sapari. No soldiers were injured in the fighting.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (27/5/04), Amnesty International said the
conflict had displaced tens of thousands of people, and that both troops and rebels
are guilty of rights abuses.
The statement also expressed concern for the fate of the 2,000 people captured by
the military. "Detainees were denied access to lawyers," the statement said. "There
were concerns that they were at risk of torture or ill-treatment, apparently routine in
military and police custody."
Aceh military operation commander Maj. Gen. George Toisuta has been appointed
commander of the first division of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command, military
(TNI) spokesman Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsuddin said Tuesday (25/5/04).
"It is just a routine rotation,” Sjamsoeddin told reporters after a briefing at the Army's
Staff and Command School in the West Java capital Bandung. He said Maj. Gen.
Endang Suwarya, commander of the Iskandar Muda Military Command in Aceh,
would hold the military operation commander position in Aceh simultaneously.
Police probe graft
The government has also announced that a team from Jakarta would assist Aceh
Governor Abdullah Puteh in running the province under its new civil emergency status,
which took effect on May 19, ending a year of martial law.
The National Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) announced
Tuesday (25/5/04) they would investigate corruption cases in Aceh that allegedly
He is reportedly involved in the alleged markup in the price of new power generators
that caused Rp30 billion ($3.3 million) in state losses and in the markup in the
purchase of a Rp12 billion Russian Mi-2 helicopter. President Megawati Sukarnoputri
has approved the police investigation into Puteh.
"Since we've secured presidential permission, we will interrogate him as soon as
possible. We will question him regarding the purchase of the power generators,"
National Police chief Gen. Dai Bachtiar said Friday (28/5/04).
Puteh has consistently denied reports of being involved in corruption, calling the
reports a move to discredit him. He recently sought protection from the House of
Representatives due to the growing demands for an investigation.
Previously, Aceh Police had said there were 42 corruption cases involving officials in
the province that needed investigating.
Maluku Bomb Kills One
Tension rose in the provincial capital of Ambon Monday (24/5/04), with residents
setting up roadblocks in several parts of the city after bombs wounded five people.
Two bombs exploded the day before. Five people were injured in a blast in the mainly
Christian village of Halong Baru. The second bomb in a Muslim area caused no
The blasts followed a brief visit by President Megawati Sukarnoputri to the city where
she promised to deal firmly with separatist supporters.
Barricades, made of tires, rocks, bamboo, wood and hawker wagons blocked several
main streets in both the Christian and Muslim sectors early on Monday. But by noon
armed police and troops had cleared most of them away.
On Tuesday (25/5/04) a bomb killed one person and injured 13 others in the Christian
sector. The 13 injured included three who remain in serious condition. Police defused
another device planted near a church. A suspected bomb at the tax office turned out
to be a false alarm.
The blast at Batumeja market - the third in the city in three days - sparked panic
Sporadic violence is continuing even though the government has sent in hundreds of
extra troops and police.
The city is still recovering from an outbreak of Muslim-Christian violence that killed 38
people after a banned parade by members of a mainly Christian separatist group, the
Maluku Sovereignty Front.
The group, which has no armed wing, is primarily Christian and has called for a local
referendum on independence
Alex Manuputty, the fugitive leader of the group, and his deputy were arrested after
encouraging followers to raise banned flags of the so-called Republic of South Maluku
(RMS). Manuputty was convicted of treason and sentenced to four years in prison, but
released on appeal. He was granted a visa by the US embassy in Jakarta despite his
Manuputty was in Washington earlier this month to press for an inquiry by the US or
the United Nations into alleged abuses in Maluku.
Manuputty's wife and daughter have been arrested over the April clashes and are
being held in Jakarta. His son is a fugitive
Jakarta has asked the US to deport Manuputty but there is no extradition treaty
between the two countries. He says he believes he would be killed if he returns to
"Indonesia continues to become a place where they harbor terrorism," the 56-year-old
Manuputty said in an interview in California, the Associated Press reported
Wednesday (26/5/04). "You can no longer distinguish between the jihad forces, the
Muslim militants, the police, the military or the Indonesian government itself,"
Manuputty said. "The military are supposed to protect the people, but instead they
were used to kill the people."
Prosecutor Gunned Down
Fery Silalahi, a prosecutor who helped try terrorism cases, was shot dead
Wednesday (26/5/04) in Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi province.
Hasman, a spokesman for the chief prosecutor's office, said Silalahi was shot several
times in his car just after attending an evening Mass. "At the moment he was driving
off, unknown gunmen opened fire," Hasman said. Witnesses said the attackers fled
on two motorcycles.
Silalahi had been working in Palu for more than a year. Like other prosecutors in the
province, he handled a variety of cases including corruption and terrorism, including a
recent case against suspected Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members Muhammad Fauzan,
Nizam, Firmansyah, Fajri and Aang Hasanuddin.
Shortly after the attack all Palu prosecutors were given a 24-hour guard by fully armed
police personnel. Police protection will be given to prosecutors and judges in other
"Ferry's murder proves that prosecutors and judges are in danger. After discussing the
matter with the head of the Central Sulawesi Prosecutor's Office, we decided to guard
all prosecutors there individually," National Police chief Gen. Dai Bachtiar said Friday
Bachtiar declined to speculate on a possible motive behind Ferry's murder, saying the
case was being investigated.
A recent report by the International Crisis Group warned Islamic extremists may be
recruiting in the area and seeking to capitalize on the sectarian bloodshed.
Just weeks ago, a Christian preacher was assassinated in Poso, while gunmen
wearing black ninja-style uniforms also sprayed automatic gunfire at a church
The Constitutional Court has ordered the General Elections Commission (KPU) to
recount ballot papers in 754 polling stations in Sampang regency on Madura Island in
a bid to obtain hard evidence for a lawsuit filed by the National Awakening Party
(PKB) against the commission.
"Our team, led by Satya Arinanto, will arrive on the island on Friday (28/5/04) to
witness the recount, along with other witnesses representing 24 political parties and
the KPU," Constitutional Court chief Jimly Asshiddiqie told a media conference
The court is hearing 257 cases filed by 23 political parties and 21 candidates for the
Regional Representatives Council within 30 days.
Data from the KPU and the election commission in Sampang on the results of the
ballot counting show discrepancies, Jimly said, hence the need for a recount.
PKB is challenging the KPU in court over the ballot counting, which has cost it a seat
in the Sampang regent legislature. PKB claimed it gained 181,095 votes but the local
KPU recorded only 178,884.
The court has also ordered that the KPU conduct the recount under the watchful eyes
of witnesses from 24 political parties and the court.
"We have asked the police to guard the venues where the ballot recount will take
place in Madura and Jakarta to prevent any possible disturbance. The verdict may
affect the seat distribution in the regental legislature," Jimly said.
Lampung Detention Over Attacks
Chandra, 35, son of Lampung Legislative Council's former speaker Abbas
Hadisunyoto, was officially detained as a suspect Wednesday (26/5/04) for his
alleged role in recent terror attacks in the provincial capital of Bandar Lampung.
He was charged with being involved in lobbing a bomb at the education and training
center of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on Tuesday (25/5/04).
The arrest came after the discovery of another bomb near the home of former council
speaker Srie Atidah of the PDI-P faction. A bomb squad team defused the
The device thrown at the PDI-P building was of a similar type to the bomb that
exploded outside the council building hours before a re-vote was held to elect a new
governor, said Lampung Police chief Brig. Gen. M.D. Primanto, pointing at a possible
connection between the two incidents.
Chandra's father was one of 16 PDI-P councilors dismissed by party leader President
Megawati Sukarnoputri for backing the election of Alzier Dianis Thabranie as the new
governor in December 2002.
Alzier defeated then incumbent governor Oemarsono who was supported by
Megawati. Earlier this year, Alzier was convicted for graft by a district court in
Lampung. Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno annulled the result and ordered the
council to hold a new vote.
On Monday (24/5/04), the council, chaired by speaker Nurhasanah of the PDI-P
faction voted for Sjachroeddin Z.P. and Syamsuria Ryacudu to replace Alzier, amid
mounting opposition from parties and student groups.
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