Subject: Tempo: The Disappeared [+The Senayan Kidnapping Case] 

also 2 Tempo Magazine reports: Missing Persons: Keeping Faith - Convinced that they are still alive, relatives of the victims are making every effort to find their missing loved ones; and An Uphill Battle

Tempo Magazine No. 12/VII Nov 21 - 27, 2006

Law

The Senayan Kidnapping Case

Komnas HAM concludes that the 1997-1998 kidnapping case was a severe case of human rights abuse. The AGO awaits a political decision from the DPR.

THE abduction will not be easily erased from Mugiyanto's memory. He was kidnapped in March 1998 and taken hostage for several days in an unknown location in Cijantung, East Jakarta. During his time there he was abused, kicked, and electrocuted.

Mugiyanto is considered lucky to have been released, unlike several other kidnap victims. Now he is Chairman of the Indonesian Missing Persons Alliance. This organization continues to put pressure on the government to reveal the kidnapping cases of several activists in 1997 and 1998. "That's why, even though there is not much new information, the Human Rights Commission report on the kidnapped victims relieves us," said the former People's Democratic Party (PRD) Chairman.

Two weeks ago, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) announced its findings on 23 missing people, most of whom are activists from the PRD. Komnas HAM declared that the kidnapping case was a severe abuse of human rights. In the 1,000-page report, Komnas HAM mentioned five crimes that were committed during the course of the kidnapping; murder, abuse of personal freedom, physical abuse, cruel treatment, and forced abduction.

Ten of the 23 kidnap victims were released unharmed: Mugiyanto, Aan Rusdianto, Nezar Patria, Faisol Riza, Raharjo Waluyo Jati, Haryanto Taslam, Andi Arief, Pius Lustrilanang, Desmon J. Mahesa, and a man with the initials S.T. The 14 who remain missing are: Yanie Afri, Sony, Herman Hendrawan, Dedi Hamdun, Noval Alkatiri, Ismail, Suyat, Petrus Bima Anugerah, Wiji Thukul, Ucok Munandar, Hendra Hambali, Yadin Muhidin, and Abdun Naser.

The inquiry began when a task force was created to investigate the kidnapping of activists during the May 1998 riots and the forced abduction cases. At the end of their duty period last year, the task force recommended that an ad hoc team investigate the kidnapping cases. As a result the ad hoc team was formed to investigate severe abuses of human rights and forced abduction during the 1997-1998 period.

Since it was founded last year, the team has questioned 77 people. Fifty-eight of them were the kidnap victims or their relatives. Not all of the victims agreed to testify. Andi Arief, Desmond J. Mahesa, and Pius Lustrilanang, for instance, refused to give testimony. "I don't want to testify for unknown people," Mahesa told Tempo.

According to the ad hoc investigation team, 20 people were responsible for the abductions. An Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander in Chief, the Jaya Regional Military Commander, the National Police Chief, the Army Chief of Staff and former President Suharto are among those who are suspected of involvement in the kidnappings. Results of the report of the ad hoc team investigation were examined during the Komnas HAM plenary meeting on Wednesday two weeks ago.

The atmosphere in the plenary meeting was very tense. One member, Major-General (ret) Samsuddin disagreed with the team's conclusion. "He questioned the issue of 'Under Orders Command' (BKO) and the word 'systematic' that was frequently used by the team," explained a Komnas HAM member. At the end of the meeting a vote was held to determine how many members agreed with the findings of the ad hoc team. Komnas HAM Chairman, Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, asked the members who agreed with the team's conclusion to raise their hands. The result was unanimous: 19 out of 20 members raised their hands.

When he was asked to confirm his statement, Samsuddin declared that the evidence that the ad hoc team had on the troops' BKO was questionable. "I have strong reason to reject the evidence. It is not because I am a former member of the TNI," he said. According to Samsuddin, there should be further analysis of this matter.

Last Friday, the Komnas HAM conclusion was delivered to the Attorney General's Office (AGO). "We have to move on with the investigation," said Nusantara to Tempo. According to Nusantara, even if the House of Representatives (DPR) does not recommend the investigation of the 10 cases of released victims, they should do so for the 13 who remain missing. "Without the DPR recommendation, the prosecution still has to investigate the case because those victims are still missing," said Nusantara.

Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh, disagrees with Nusantara. According to him, the Komnas HAM opinion is confusing. "The cases are past affairs," said Abdul Rahman. He believes, what they need now is a statement from the DPR that the cases were severe human rights abuses so that the judicial process can be reversed. "The final key needed to reopen the case is not in the judiciary, but at Senayan (site of the DPR)," he said.

Commission for Missing Persons & Victims of Violence Coordinator, Usman Hamid, is anxious that the case will have the same dead-end fate as the Trisakti and Semanggi cases. "This is actually a public matter," said Hamid.

Indonesian Army Headquarters, which was implicated in this case, will ask the Legal Establishment Service (Banbinkum) to examine the Komnas HAM report. "Banbinkum will study the case in accordance with the legal process," TNI Commander in Chief, Marshal Djoko Suyanto, told Dimas Adityo from Tempo.

Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, whose name was revealed in the Komnas HAM report, also stated that he had disclosed everything to Banbinkum. "I will face whatever I should face," said the former Jaya Regional Military Commander who is currently the Defense Department Secretary-General. -- Abdul Manan, Maria Hasugian, Ramidi

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Tempo Magazine No. 12/VII Nov 21 - 27, 2006

Law

Missing Persons

Keeping Faith

Convinced that they are still alive, relatives of the victims are making every effort to find their missing loved ones.

DYAH Sipon suddenly had the idea to conduct a jailangkung game, a seance involving a doll into which the spirit of a departed person may enter. She is trying to find the whereabouts of her husband, Wiji Thukul, who has been missing for nine years.

Their last meeting was at Tugu Railway Station, Yogyakarta. "It is a painful memory because we were having a fight in our last hours together," she told Tempo who visited her house in Solo last week. Thukul, a poet, wanted to take one of their two children with him and Sipon refused.

At the time Thukul was being pursued by the police as a result of his political activity in the People's Democratic Party (PRD). The party was suspected of masterminding a riot on July 27, 1996. "It did not think that it was to be our last meeting," said Sipon.

One day, she performed the jailangkung. Her two children prepared the various objects: a water dipper, charcoal, and sticks of chalk. It seemed to be working when a spirit entered the doll and responded to Sipon's questions. The last answer that the jailangkung wrote was surprising. "It said my husband is still alive and lives on a shore," said Sipon.

Thukul will have been missing for exactly nine years this December. Sipon is still searching for her husband. She has reported the case to the Commission for Missing Persons & Victims of Violence, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), and former presidents Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Sipon has achieved no results so far and wonders why it is so difficult for the government to find her husband. "Was he really kidnapped? If so, who kidnapped him and where was he taken? If he was killed, where is his grave? If he was exiled, where has he been sent to?" she asks.

Sipon is not the only who is disappointed by the government's ineffectiveness in handling the case. D.T. Utomo Rahardjo and G. Misati, parents of Bima Petrus Nugraha, the PRD member who has been missing since March 1998, feel the same. "We pray for Bima every night," said Rahardjo.

Rahardjo is sure that his son was killed because of his political activities in the PRD. Before he went to Jakarta after the July 27, 1996 riot, he told his parents: "I could be pursued, jailed, murdered, or exiled."

Winuranto Adhi, Nugraha's friend, said that he had heard that Nugraha was the target of a police operation because the interrogators at the National Stability Coordination Committee in Surabaya where he was arrested after the 1996 riots mentioned Nugraha's name repeatedly. Adhi, who is a member of the Indonesian Student Solidarity for Democracy (SMID) in Malang, heard the interrogator say: "If he is captured, kill him, or at least, put him out of action."

Rahardjo and Misiati are still searching for their son, too. They have asked Komnas HAM, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Red Cross, and the United Nations Human Rights Commission. "We believe that Bima is alive," said Rahardjo. They even brought their case to several spiritualists in Malang, Yogyakarta, and Purworejo. "They said that he is still alive in Lampung," his parents said.

Tumiyem also asked a spiritualist to find her son's (Suyat) whereabouts. She saved some money from selling vegetables to pay for the spiritualist. Tumiyem also believes that Suyat, a Surakarta PRD activist, is still alive.

The parents of the missing activists are hoping to find out any information about their loved ones. "What is the use of the courts if we cannot find out about our brother's fate?" said Suyadi, Suyat's brother.

Maria Hasugian, Bibin Bintariadi (Malang), Imron Rosyid (Surakarta)

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Tempo Magazine No. 12/VII Nov 21 - 27, 2006

Law

An Uphill Battle

THE National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) is supported by the law but has little or no chance in facing the Indonesian Military (TNI). During the course of investigating former and current army members who are suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of activists, only one out of the 23 summoned personnel is willing to testify.

On the other hand, only three out of 61 civilians summoned have refused to testify, all of the police personnel have complied with the summons, including former Police Chief, General (ret) Dibyo Widodo.

Komnas HAM has tried everything in its power to summon the army personnel. The first summons, sent by special courier, failed. Several personnel have moved away, one security guard refused to receive the summons, and one district official refused to deliver the letter.

The only officer who obeyed the first summons was Lt. Gen. (ret) Yusuf Kartanegara, a former member of the Officers' Honor Council which investigated Prabowo Subianto and Muchdi Pr. Komnas HAM failed to extract further information from Kartanegara. "In most of his responses he claims to have forgotten details of the incidents," said a member of the Komnas HAM ad hoc investigation team.

The second summons was sent. The summons were re-sent to those with completed addresses, and for those with unclear addresses the summons were sent to their authorities, and for the ones with unknown addresses, the summons were displayed at the Komnas HAM information board.

No response. Komnas HAM then sent a letter to the TNI Commander in Chief, Marshal Djoko Suyanto, to arrange a meeting for discussing how to call on those personnel. Djoko answered through the Legal Establishment Service: a House of Representatives (DPR) recommendation must be required before Komnas HAM can start the case investigation.

Undeterred, Komnas HAM asked the Jakarta District Court to petition an active officer and five other army officers who were suspects in the cases. However, the court refused the request because a forced summons can only be executed in an investigation.

Why do the army officers resist the summons? Army spokesperson, Colonel Ahmad Yani Basuki, told Tempo there was no resistance. The TNI personnel are merely following the already established law in such cases. The investigation of human rights abuse cases requires the recommendation of the government and the army is obeying this stipulation, he said. -- Maria Hasugian

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service


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