Sutiyoso should have been arrested – Indonesian NGOs

Source – May 31, 2007
Lieutenant General Sutiyoso (medanbisnisdaily)
Lieutenant General Sutiyoso (medanbisnisdaily)

Anwar Khumaini, Jakarta – Non-government organisations from Indonesia’s NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (Koalisi LSM) say that Jakarta governor Sutiyoso should have been arrested because he refused a court order.

The groups made the statement in response to the New South Wales police raid on Sutiyoso’s room at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, Australia. Sutiyoso is believed to have been involved in a human rights case related to the death of five Australian journalists in Balibo, East Timor, in 1975.

“The [police’s] actions were legally correct. It was an official summons from a judge. If refused, he should have been arrested”, exclaimed Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Deputy Coordinator Choirul Anam during a joint press conference attended by representatives from Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and a number of other NGOs at the Kontras offices on Jl. Borobudur in Central Jakarta on Thursday May 31.

The coordinator of Koalisi LSM, Rafendi Djamin meanwhile said that the incident does not need to be addressed politically but rather from a legal point of view. “We have to be wise, [and understand] that the courts actions were the actions of an independent institution that occasionally clashes with the executive”, said Djamin.

He added that it is not in fact just Sutiyoso that is connected with this case. Long beforehand, the operational commander of the attack on Balibo, retired Major General Yunus Yosfiah had been summoned by the coroner’s court. “Sutiyoso became his representative and there are eight [other] generals that are [also] suspected of being involved”, said Djamin.

“The public doesn’t need to overreact. Don’t let us then become anti-Australian and close the Australian Embassy. The [Embassy has] absolutely no relationship [with the incident]”, he asserted. (bal/sss)


According to United Nations police, who in 2000 began a formal investigation into the killing of five Australian-based journalists at Balibo, then Captain Sutiyoso was one of several officers involved in the attack and other clandestine operations against Portuguese East Timor in 1975. In October of that year, Sutiyoso led an assault by Indonesian troops on the sleepy coastal town of Batugade in Timor, the first time that Jakarta had occupied and held a foreign town and the precursor to the full-scale invasion of East Timor two months later.

[Translated by James Balowski.]