Acehnese pro-democracy activist arrested in Bandung

Source – March 2, 2004
Acehnese student dormitory in Bandung (vi-vn)
Acehnese student dormitory in Bandung (vi-vn)

Ahmad Fikri, Jakarta -- West Bandung (West Java) police have arrested Mohammad bin Toyib (26) who they say is the adjutant of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) finance minister.

This was revealed to journalists by the head of the West Bandung police, Eddy Mulyono, at the Bandung police headquarters on Tuesday March 2.

"We arrested the [person] concerned on Monday (1/3/2004) at the Aceh students canteen on Jalan Cicendo No. 9 in Bandung at around 6pm after the Aceh police confirmed that Mohammad was the adjutant of the GAM finance minister", said Mulyono.

Mulyono added that when he was arrested Mohammad did not offer any resistance. Mohammad is now under intense investigation. The police, said Mulyono, are seeking information concerning his activities and anyone who has met with Mohammad in Bandung.

"We are continuing to coordinate with the Aceh police. The Aceh police themselves have asked for Mohammad to be brought to Aceh. However based on orders from the Bandung police chief, Mohammad will be taken to Police headquarters [in Jakarta first]. Only then he will he be taken to Aceh", explained Mulyono.

According to Mulyono, Mohammad has frequently visited Bandung and even has a Bandung identity card in the name of D. Ahmad for the Cicendo political district.

Not a member of GAM

Habiburahman, from the People's Defence Team however, explained that Mohammad is an activist from the Solidarity Movement for the People of Aceh (Solidaritas Gerakan Untuk Aceh, SEGERA). He called on police to stop issuing statements accusing Mohammad of being a member of GAM.

"This will stigmatize his family. Not just that, worse still this [kind of] stigma will also have to be borne by other Acehnese people living outside of Aceh", explained Habiburahman.

Meanwhile, Zahri, a former administrator of the Aceh student canteen in Bandung said that Mohammad is a student of the Araniri State Academy of Islamic Studies in Banda Aceh. Mohammad is registered there as a year 2000 student in the religious studies faculty.

"[What is happening] at the moment is that every single Acehnese activists is being accused of being members of GAM. Since February 19, 17 activists have been arrested on these charges", he revealed. (djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]