The Senayan Kidnapping Case

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

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

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