Hundreds of civilians have died, hundreds of thousands have been displaced, hundreds of school buildings have been burnt to the ground, journalist Ersa Siregar has been killed, the tabloid Beudoh was threaten and forced to cease publishing, scores of people have become hostages of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) or victims of arrests and acts of violence by security forces since marshal law came into force in Aceh. Now the list of victims has been added to with civilian activists and the democratic movement in Aceh falling victims to marshal law.
Three activist from the Linge University and High-school Students Association (Ikatan Mahasiswa dan Pelajar Linge, IMPEL) – a grouping of youth and students with a social mission in Central Aceh – and who are also activists from Student Solidarity for the People (Solidaritas Mahasiswa Untuk Rakyat, SMUR) and three activist from the Women’s Organisation for Aceh Democracy (Organisasi Perempuan Demokratik Aceh, Orpad) have been arbitrarily arrested by the Lingke Mobile Brigade (Brimob).
The IMPEL activists who were arrested are Iwan Irama Putra (who is also a SMUR activist), Harlina (who is also an Orpad activist) and Masrizal, while Nursida and Nova Rahayu are activists from Orpad. Also arrested was Syaffruddin, a SMUR activist who was interrogated and detained at his boarding house but has now been released.
Almost all of the arrests of the IMPEL, SMUR and Orpad activist which occurred between February 19-23 were done in violation of correct legal procedures, without arrest warrants and without any clear charges. Other IMPEL activists such as Muhsin, Munzir and Ratno have also been targeted for arrest by security forces. These facts prove that there is a hidden aim in the implementation of marshal law in Aceh where it is not only GAM forces who are the target but it is also intended to muzzle the democratic rights of the entire Acehnese people.
The fact further strengthens our conviction that marshal law is an anti-democratic solution and represents a government policy which support those forces which want to see a return of militarism in Indonesia and it will not in any way resolve the problems of the Acehnese people.
It is truly saddening, that at the same time as marshal law is killing the democratic space in Aceh, when in the name of “democracy”, the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Vice-president Hamzah Haz, the elite military leaders, the emergency military command and the civilian government in Aceh, are foaming at the mouth trying to convince the people of Indonesia that the elections in Aceh will be conducted democratically, openly and fairly.
It is obvious that it is only these people, the civilian political forces in Indonesia who favour a militaristic solution to the problems in Aceh, or those that while they do not agree with this policy do not have the courage to fight and instead accommodate militarism for the sake of their desire to come to power or join with those already in power, who can pretend that an election in Aceh will be “democratic”, “open” and “fair” while it is under marshal law.
However we, who still have a sense of justice and a conviction that it is only through democratic and peaceful means that the problems of the Acehnese people can be resolved, cannot remain silent in face of these arbitrary arrests in Aceh, or agree with the stupid and contemptible proposal from the government for elections to go ahead in Aceh. Because of this, we, as social and democratic activists in Aceh and as individuals and democratic organisations in Indonesia explicitly state that:
- We demand that the military and police release all civilians and democratic activists who are being detained.
- We demand that GAM release all civilian hostages and that the military and police guarantee the safety of and not block efforts to free these hostage though the initiatives of domestic and international organisations.
- We reject elections being held in Aceh under a state of marshal law.
- We call for the restoration of the democratic rights of the Acehnese people.
- We demand that the Indonesian government end the state of marshal law in Aceh.
Jakarta, February 24, 2004
Aceh Papua Solidarity
Contact persons: Thamrin Ananda (08158153172), Raihana Diani (08159810457), Ari Arianto (08156867741)
- Long live democracy
- Destroy militarism
- Release civilian activists in Aceh now
- End marshal law in Aceh
Aceh Papua Solidarity (SAP) is made up of the following organisations:
APM, AMP, ASG, CèSAR, CETRO, DEMMAK, ELSAM, FKGMP, FR, Forum Kutaraja, FNMP, FNPBI, FPDRA, FAM-UI, FMN,GPK, IKAPA Bandung, IKARA, IMAPA JAYA, IMPARSIAL, IMTR Bogor, INCREASE, INFID, JAKER, JMD, Jeumpa Mirah, KPI, KMPAN, KontraS, LBH-R, LS-ADI, LMND, LNDRA, LPRM, ORPAD, PBHI, PDRM, PEC, PM, PRD, PAK, POPOR, PDP, Sahabat Aceh, SAMAK, SIRA, SPR, SBRA Bandung, SEGERA, SEKAR, SMUR, SNUP, SUA Yogya, STN, WALHI, YAPPIKA, YLBHI
[Translated by James Balowski.]