Activists condemn letter seeking amnesty for former Acehnese governor

Aceh Kita – November 3, 2007
Aceh governor Abdullah Pute (Liputan 6)
Aceh governor Abdullah Pute (Liputan 6)

Banda Aceh – Acehnese civil activists from the Aceh Anti-Corruption Coalition (KAAA) say they regret Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf has given his blessing to amnesty for former Aceh governor Abdullah Puteh, who was jailed over his involvement in a corruption case when he was still governor of Aceh. They are calling on Yusuf and the Aceh Ulama Council (MPU) to revoke the letter of support sent to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 7.

Askalani, an activist from the Aceh Anti-Corruption Movement (Garak Aceh) said that the request for amnesty submitted by Irwandi and the MPU could have fatal consequences for efforts to eliminate corruption in Aceh, something Yusuf has been repeatedly campaigning on since the early days of his administration.

“This move will weaken the anti-corruption movement in Aceh and is in contradiction with the vision and mission offered by the governor during his campaign before becoming governor”, said Askalani in a press release received by Aceh Kita on Friday.

As has been reported, Governor Irwandi Yusuf sent a letter to President Yudhoyono on September 7. In the letter No. 180.3/28111 the former Free Aceh Movement spokesperson declared his support for an amnesty request for Puteh. A copy of the letter was sent to the Supreme Court. Yusuf’s letter was supported by a letter from the MPU No. 300/768, also dated September 7.

Askalani said that the letters were in total contradiction with the goal of eliminating corruption and ridden with political interests. Because of this therefore, the anti-corruption coalition condemns the request for amnesty and is urging Irwandi and MPU chairperson Muslem Ibrahim to revoke the letter. “The letter (of support) will open up space for the fertilization of corrupt practices in Aceh and weaken the process of eliminating corruption cases”, said Askalani quoting from the coalition.

The coalition, which is made up of 23 non-government organisations and civil activists are also calling on the Aceh Regional House of Representatives to seek clarification over the letter from the governor and the MPU, as well as urging that the letters of support be withdrawn immediately. “The governor and the MPU must apologies to the Acehnese people”, he said. [dzie]