Komnas HAM calls on Yudhoyono to find missing activists

Detik.com – November 10, 2006
Komnas HAM chairperson Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara (Berita Satu)
Komnas HAM chairperson Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara (Berita Satu)

Nala Edwin, Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) is calling on the government to find the 13 missing activists who were abducted between 1996-1998 and whose fates are still unknown.

“It is up to the government, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, because he has the authority to order law enforcement officials to find them”, said Komnas HAM chairperson Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara at a press conference at the Komnas HAM offices on Jl. Latuharhari in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Friday November 10.

Abdul Hakim warned that if the president has information on the deaths of the 13 people, he is therefore obliged to reveal where the bodies are and to return them to their families.

The 13 activists that are still missing are Deddy Hamdun (the husband of artist Eva Arnaz), Yani Afrie, Sony, Herman Hendrawan, Noval Alkatiri, Ismail, Suyat, Petrus Bima Anugrah, Wiji Thukul, Ucok Manandar Siahaan, Hendra Hambali, Yadin Muhidin and Abdun Naser.

In addition to these there were also 10 pro-democracy activists that were released safely after being abducted in 1997-1998. They are Mugiyanto, Aan Rusdianto, Nezar Patria, Faisol Riza, Raharja Waluyo Jati, Haryanto Taslam, Andi Arief, Pius Lustrilanang, Desmon Mahesa and ST. One other, Gilang, was found dead in Sarangan, East Java.

Abdul Hakim went on to say that the individuals considered to be accountable for the disappearances are the former chief of the Armed Forces, the former chief of the Army’s Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad), the former Jakarta military commander and the military intelligence body BIA. “I don’t need to mention their names, you already know who they are”, he asserted.

A team of investigators looking in to the case of the disappearances has been working between October 1, 2005 and October 30, 2006. The team has questioned 77 witnesses including 58 victims, the families of the victims and members of general public as well as 18 current and retired members of the national police and 1 retired TNI (armed forces) officer.

There have been difficulties however in the investigation of these cases, one of which is the refusal of the TNI to present is personnel for questioning by the team. The TNI bases this refusal on the argument that the disappearances occurred in 1997-1998 before Law Number 26/2000 on the Establishment of a Human Rights Tribunal was ratified.

“As a result what is needed is a decision by the House of Representatives which has proposed an ad hoc human rights court. On the same grounds as those presented to the Attorney General when Komnas HAM presented a request to visit the locations or places where the activists were held”, he explained.

Out of the victims that were abducted one was killed, 11 tortured, 12 mistreated, 23 were forcibly disappeared and 19 had their physical freedom removed arbitrarily.

Abdul Hakim is asked that the results of the investigation be forwarded to the Attorney General in order to form an investigation team because sufficient prima facie evidence has been found to conclude that crimes against humanity were committed.

A assistant to the ad hoc investigation team into the 1997-1998 disappearances, Lamria, said there a number of people out of the 13 activists that are still missing who are known to have been at the army’s elite special forces Kopassus post located the Cijantung area of East Jakarta. They are Yani Afrie, Sony, Herman Hendrawan, Deddy Hamdun and Noval Alkatiri, who Faisol Riza and Pius Lustrilanang met before released. (fjr/sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]