Saturday, May 31, 2014

Abuse claims cloud ex-general's run for Indonesia presidency

Posted at :2014-05-30 03:37:25
Posted by : Angela Dewan

Indonesia - Mugiyanto recalls the horror of being abducted by soldiers, blindfolded, beaten and electrocuted as a student activist fighting to end the long rule of Indonesian dictator Suharto.

Sixteen years on, he can't believe the man who ordered his capture could be the country's next president.
Former general Prabowo Subianto is trying to erase human rights violations from his image as he pursues the presidency in the world's third-largest democracy.

But the voices demanding he be brought to justice are growing louder as the July 9 poll approaches.
Twenty-three activists were kidnapped in the months before the three-decade rule of Suharto was brought to an end in May 1998, when the Asian financial crisis sparked violent protests as it tore through Indonesia.

As head of the army's special forces in early 1998, Prabowo admitted to ordering some of the abductions, including Mugiyanto's. He was discharged from the military following Suharto's downfall for "exceeding orders".
But the former general denies ordering the torture.

The 62-year-old, who used to be married to Suharto's daughter, has never faced a civilian court. He also denies accusations he was involved in the disappearance of 13 activists, whose fates remain unknown.
Mugiyanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, hopes that by telling the story of his three-day interrogation he can educate those who know little about the ex-general's past.

"The most painful part was when I heard my friends being tortured," Mugiyanto told AFP, his voice quavering as he recalled sobbing uncontrollably when he heard their screams.
"I thought they were going to kill me," the 41-year-old said.

- 'Dirty games' -
Most Indonesians are in the dark about Prabowo's past. A poll by the Indonesian Survey Institute found that less than 30 percent of respondents knew about the abductions or that Prabowo was discharged from the military.

At a recent pro-Prabowo demonstration, supporters described the ex-general as "honest", and one man said the allegations against him were all "lies".
"His rivals are just playing dirty games. There is no problem. This is just a dirty conspiracy," supporter Binsar Effendi Hutabarat said.
Prabowo still polls a distant second to his only rival -- the popular Joko Widodo, who rose to fame in his stint as Jakarta governor -- but he has narrowed the gap dramatically in recent months.

His Gerindra Party has a strong "pro-poor" platform that appeals to the masses -- half of Indonesia's 250 million people live below or hover around the poverty line of $2 a day.
And his militaristic past is seen as a plus by millions who yearn for a strong leader to follow outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, widely criticised for his indecision.

- 'Hot-tempered' -
While activists are demanding Prabowo's past be discussed, rights have taken a back seat in the local media's election coverage.
Prabowo has barked at local reporters venomously when asked about rights. His brother and senior advisor, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, says Prabowo has been "hot-tempered" since he was a boy, and that he was unlikely to change.

Prabowo has kept most foreign journalists at arm's length ahead of the elections, refusing AFP's repeated requests for an interview in recent months.
When asked about his rights record during a talk with foreign correspondents last year, Prabowo snapped: "Do you come to us and tell us that 250 million Indonesians are all stupid?"

"Let the Indonesian people decide. Let them scrutinise the past. Let them decide who will be their elected leaders," he said.
There have been attempts to haul Prabowo before courts in the past, but they have all failed.
Last week a group of lawyers filed a suit calling for an ad hoc human rights court to be established to try Prabowo and others allegedly involved in the abductions, in line with a 2009 recommendation by parliament.

A push for Prabowo to be tried has also come from neighbouring East Timor, where he is accused of atrocities, including the massacre of hundreds in 1983, during Indonesia's occupation. Prabowo denies those allegations as well.

A Prabowo victory could prove awkward for the United States, an ally of Indonesia. He was denied a visa to the country in 2000, reportedly because of his rights record, although US officials have indicated they will work with whomever is elected.
While the masses may not consider rights as they cast their votes, the families of those missing hope the election will bring greater attention to their cause.

Yan Siahaan, whose son was one of the 13 students who disappeared, has protested every May for the past 16 years in the "Against Forgetting" campaign.
"We want the public to know who Prabowo is," he said at a demonstration among a sea of banners branding the ex-general a "kidnapper, murderer and rights violator".


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Justice still eludes Indonesia torture victims

Despite pressure, government apathy means little hope of change

Ryan Dagur,
Jakarta Indonesia
May 29, 2014

In the turbulent final years of Suharto’s reign as strongman of Indonesia, Mugiyanto – like many in the country, he goes by only one name – took shelter in what he thought was a “safe house”.

Mugiyanto and his colleagues from the Indonesian Students Solidarity for Democracy had used the house as a base of operations for their protests against Suharto. On March 13, 1998, a group of soldiers raided the house in East Jakarta and took him into custody.
“I was blindfolded and taken to several places including the District Military Command in East Jakarta. Then I was taken to another place, which I learned years later was the headquarters of the Army Special Forces [Kopassus] in Cijantung,” Mugiyanto said.
“I just wore my underwear during interrogations. With blindfolded eyes, I was electrocuted and tortured again and again.”

Mugiyanto, was one of nine activists abducted and tortured by a special Kopassus unit called the Rose Team, which was under the command of then Lt Gen Prabowo Subianto. They were later released, but more than a dozen others who were also abducted between 1997-98 met a different fate. One was found dead, and the others remain missing.

After his release, Mugiyanto and several other victims of kidnapping and forced disappearance, along with some family members, established the Indonesian Association of Families of the Disappeared. Under pressure from activists, a military court in 1999 found 11 members of the Rose Team guilty of kidnapping nine activists. Prabowo, who admitted to ordering the kidnapping, was dismissed from his position but never faced a civilian court.

Following the military trial, NGOs and rights groups including the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) urged the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas) to investigate the kidnappings. In 2003, Komnas reviewed the case and recommended a full investigation. Three years later, the commission issued a report stating that the abductions constituted a gross violation of human rights and that Prabowo was directly responsible for some of the human rights violations which occurred during the 1998 riots that preceded the fall of Suharto’s regime. The pursuit of justice for the victims seemed to gain momentum after the report was submitted to the Attorney-General’s Office.

In 2009, parliament recommended that an ad hoc court should be formed to further investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the abductions. But that is where the path to justice ended. The court has yet to be established.
“Recommendations are already there. Still, the government hasn’t moved yet. The government doesn’t have the political will,” Mugiyanto said.

In an April 2014 report titled “Setting the Agenda: Human Rights Priorities for the New Government”, Amnesty International said there had been a lack of progress during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration in delivering justice for past human rights violations. Specifically, the report stated that Yudhoyono failed to act on parliament’s recommendations to conduct an immediate search for activists who had disappeared and to provide rehabilitation and compensation to their families.

Widyo Pramono, a junior attorney-general for special crimes, said the commission’s report must be completed.
“The [case] papers must be complete. For example, information from certain witnesses needs to be collected. The Attorney General’s office won’t send the papers to court if they are not complete,” Pramono said.

Haris Azhar of KontraS said the ad hoc court recommended by parliament could be a good barometer for the government’s commitment to providing justice to human rights abuse victims.
“If the government remains silent, this means that the government allows impunity for perpetrators,” Azhar said. The reluctance on the part of the government to seek justice for its past crimes has left Novridaniar Dinis Puspahati in limbo. When she was two years old, soldiers abducted her father Yadin Muhidin, and his whereabouts remain a mystery.
“I don’t know whether my father is still alive or already dead. I have lived with this question for more than 16 years,” she said.

Earlier this month Kivlan Zen, the former chief of staff of the Army Strategic Reserves Command, said in a televised debate that he knew the whereabouts of the missing activists, though he did not say whether they were alive or dead.

In response, rights organizations and NGOs demanded the formation of a special court after a meeting with a presidential advisory board member with the aim of summoning Kivlan to testify formally. However, Kivlan refused to testify. And so, Puspahati continues to wait for justice.
“Where is this state’s legal wisdom? Where is this state’s hard work and political will to get back my father and the other missing activists?” she said. “I want this case to be dealt with properly. No families of the victims of kidnapping and forced disappearance want to live with a big question for more than 16 years.”

Compounding the pain of not knowing the fate of their family members or receiving justice for the suffering they endured is the fact that Prabowo, who had previously admitted to ordering the abductions, is currently a presidential candidate in elections scheduled for July 9. Prabowo, who founded the Great Indonesia Movement, has gained widespread support from a coalition of other political parties in the run-up to the vote. “If he becomes president, I’m sure our fight for justice will be harder,” said Mugiyanto.

In its report this year, Amnesty International recommended that the new president review all information currently in the possession of the Attorney General’s office about past violations of international law and ensure thorough investigations. When sufficient admissible evidence exists, the report further notes, all suspects in such crimes should be prosecuted before national courts in proceedings that meet international standards for fair trials.

For the victims and their families, this is what they have been seeking for the better part of two decades.
“I can still feel the trauma. Perpetrators must tell us clearly why they did what they did. They must be taken to court,” Mugiyanto said.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kami Yang Menunggu Keadilan

Oleh MUGIYANTO, Penyintas Penculikan Aktivis 1998, Ketua IKOHI
(Artikel OPINI Harian Kompas, Sabtu, 24 Mei 2014)

HAMPIR selama sebulan terakhir, wacana di media mengenai calon presiden untuk Pemilu Presiden 2014 sangat kental diwarnai isu pelanggaran HAM, khususnya terkait kasus penculikan dan penghilangan paksa aktivis pro demokrasi tahun 1997-1998.

Ada tiga alasan yang melatarbelakangi hal ini. Pertama, salah satu capres potensial, Prabowo Subianto, diduga kuat terlibat dalam beberapa pelanggaran hak asasi manusia pada masa Orde Baru, terutama kasus penculikan dan penghilangan paksa aktivis.

Kedua, saat ini adalah bulan Mei yang 16 tahun lalu ditandai momentum-momentum sejarah kebangsaan: penembakan mahasiswa di kampus Universitas Trisakti pada 12 Mei 1998 dan peristiwa kerusuhan 13-15 Mei yang mengorbankan lebih dari 1.000 jiwa, disertai turunnya Soeharto sebagai Presiden RI pada 21 Mei.

Ketiga, dan ini yang menjadi pemicu utama, adalah pernyataan Mayjen (Purn) Kivlan Zen dalam acara ”Debat” TV One pada 28 April 2014 mengenai penculikan aktivis 1997-1998. Pada acara yang disaksikan jutaan pemirsa di seluruh Tanah Air itu, Kivlan Zen yang pada 1998 menjabat sebagai Kepala Staf Kostrad, dengan nada bangga dan berapi-api, mengatakan, ”Yang menculik dan hilang, tempatnya saya tahu di mana, ditembak, dibuang….”

Pengakuan yang otoritatif

Saya adalah salah satu dari sembilan orang yang selamat dari penculikan dan usaha penghilangan paksa oleh pasukan Tim Mawar Kopassus tahun 1998 yang sedang dibicarakan oleh Kivlan Zen. Saya mendengar langsung ucapan Kivlan Zen karena—bersama istri—saya sedang duduk di depan televisi. Ada hening di pikiran saya, dengan jantung berdetak hebat.

Istri saya menatap saya dalam diam. Yang muncul di pandangan saya kemudian adalah wajah kawan-kawan terdekat saya yang sampai hari ini masih belum ketahuan kabarnya: Petrus Bimo Anugerah, Wiji Thukul, Herman Hendrawan, dan Suyat. Juga wajah-wajah Yani Afri, Yadin Muhidin, Ucok Siahaan, Noval Alkatiri, Deddy Hamdun, dan wajah-wajah lain yang tiap hari saya lihat dalam poster yang ada di IKOHI, tempat saya beraktivitas.

Saya tidak habis pikir, mengapa orang di TV itu, Kivlan Zen, berbicara tentang penderitaan manusia dengan sedemikian enteng. Saya lebih menganggapnya sebagai perasaan keji. Tak tahukah dia bahwa tiap hari selama lebih dari 16 tahun, segenap keluarga dari 13 aktivis yang masih hilang itu masih sabar menunggu kembalinya orang-orang yang mereka cintai. Bahkan, empat orangtua dari mereka yang hilang meninggal dalam penantian panjang.

Bagi saya, Kivlan tak hanya telah melukai rasa kemanusiaan keluarga korban. Lebih dari itu, yang sedang ia pertontonkan adalah mempermainkan penderitaan keluarga korban dengan menganggap para korban hanya sebagai angka semata. Saya jadi ingat apa yang pernah dikatakan diktator Uni Soviet, Joseph Stalin, ”Satu orang mati adalah sebuah tragedi, satu juta orang mati adalah sebuah statistik.”

Apa yang disampaikan Kivlan Zen adalah sesuatu yang penting. Sebab, saat peristiwa penculikan dan penghilangan paksa terjadi, jabatannya adalah Kepala Staf Kostrad. Dengan jabatan yang melekat pada dirinya, pernyataan Kivlan Zen adalah pengakuan yang otoritatif dan memiliki konsekuensi hukum. Hal ini diatur dalam Pasal 165 KUHP yang mengharuskan setiap orang yang mengetahui atau memiliki informasi tentang tindak pidana kejahatan harus melaporkannya kepada aparat penegak hukum.

Pernyataan Kivlan Zen juga merupakan sebuah pengakuan bahwa tindakan penghilangan paksa terhadap 13 orang yang masih hilang adalah benar adanya. Sejauh mana Kivlan Zen sendiri terlibat, siapa pelaku, korban, bagaimana peristiwa dan tempat kejadian adalah informasi penting yang harus ditindaklanjuti oleh penegak hukum, dalam hal ini Komnas HAM dan Kejaksaan Agung.

Menanggapi perkembangan tersebut, keputusan Rapat Paripurna Komnas HAM tanggal 7-8 Mei 2014 untuk membentuk tim dan melakukan pemanggilan terhadap Kivlan Zen harus diapresiasi. Namun, untuk mempercepat proses pengungkapan kasus dan memberikan kepastian hukum tidak hanya kepada korban, tetapi juga pelaku harus ditindaklanjuti.

Pemanggilan Prabowo oleh Komnas HAM sangat penting dilakukan. Terutama untuk mendalami pernyataannya selama ini bahwa ia hanya bertanggung jawab atas ”pengamanan” terhadap sembilan aktivis, yang semua sudah ”dibebaskan”, serta membantah bertanggung jawab atas 13 aktivis lain yang masih hilang. Bantahan ini sebenarnya telah dimentahkan oleh kesaksian beberapa korban yang selamat, antara lain Faisol Riza dan Rahardja Waluya Jati—bahkan Pius Lustrilanang dan Desmon J Mahesa—yang mengatakan, saat berada di tempat penyekapan, mereka sempat berkomunikasi dengan Herman Hendrawan, Yani Afri, Sony, Deddy Hamdun, dan lain-lain. Ini berarti, antara mereka yang telah dilepaskan dan yang masih hilang pernah disekap di tempat yang sama.

Perjuangan sepanjang usia

Dalam berbagai kesempatan, Fadli Zon mengatakan bahwa usaha keluarga korban dan aktivis HAM untuk menuntut penyelesaian kasus ini adalah kampanye lima tahunan yang ditujukan untuk menjegal Prabowo Subianto menjadi capres. Fadli Zon tampaknya menutup mata, tidak mau melihat, bahwa sejak hari pertama keluarga korban tahu anak dan suami mereka hilang, mereka telah berjuang dengan melakukan berbagai pencarian.

Waktu 16 tahun bukanlah pendek. Selama itu pula perjuangan keluarga korban telah melalui berbagai milestone, misalnya penyelidikan oleh Komnas HAM (2005-2006), penyerahan hasil penyelidikan kepada Jaksa Agung (2006), rekomendasi DPR kepada Presiden (2009), pemberian Surat Keterangan Keluarga Korban Penghilangan Paksa dari Komnas HAM (2011), serta rekomendasi Ombudsman kepada Presiden (2013).

Keluarga korban penghilangan paksa tak berutang apa pun pada partai politik yang saat ini sedang berkontestasi melalui pemilu. Sebaliknya, partai politik yang ada hari ini memiliki utang sejarah kepada mereka yang telah jadi martir dalam perjuangan menentang otoritarianisme Orde Baru. Perjuangan kami untuk kebenaran dan keadilan melampaui politik elektoral yang menjemukan hari ini. Perjuangan kami adalah perjuangan sepanjang usia, kecuali kebenaran dan keadilan bisa kami raih lebih cepat sebelum ajal menjemput.

Satu hal yang sekarang masih kami tunggu dan perjuangkan adalah tindakan presiden yang kami anggap sebagai ultimum remedium untuk kasus ini (Djisman Samosir, 2011). Ultimum remedium adalah upaya terakhir dalam penegakan hukum manakala sanksi-sanksi lain sudah tidak berdaya. Presiden SBY kami anggap pihak yang turut bertanggung jawab atas penundaan dan pengingkaran hak dan keadilan bagi korban sehingga kasus ini menjadi kelihatan rumit dan penuh politisasi.

Karena itulah, Presiden SBY pulalah yang harus memberikan ultimum remedium untuk kasus ini dengan cara mengimplementasikan rekomendasi DPR yang meliputi: (1) pembentukan Pengadilan HAM Ad Hoc; (2) pencarian 13 orang yang masih hilang; (3) pemberian kompensasi dan rehabilitasi kepada keluarga korban; dan (4) ratifikasi Konvensi Anti Penghilangan Paksa.

Kami sadar, waktu yang tersisa bagi SBY tidak mungkin lagi cukup untuk memenuhi semua harapan korban. Tetapi, setidaknya SBY bisa meletakkan landasan bagi ultimum remedium bagi pemerintah selanjutnya untuk menyelesaikan kasus ini, dan pada saat yang sama Presiden SBY bisa melakukan graceful exit yang akan dikenang generasi mendatang. ●

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Activist on Being Tortured by the Man Who Could Be Indonesia's Next President

By Rizky Hartono
May 13, 2014 | 12:20 am

Nothing piques your interest in a presidential election than having been abducted by one of the candidates.

This is the predicament of Mugiyanto, an Indonesian pro-democracy activist who was kidnapped and tortured by Indonesian special forces (Kopassus) in 1998 during the final months of the Suharto regime.

General Suharto took power in 1966 on the back of a communist genocide which claimed the lives of an estimated 500,000 civilians. Suharto successfully embezzled $35 billion of state money over his 32 year rule and is rated the world's most corrupt dictator of all time by Transparency International.

Anyway, Suharto may be long gone but his former son-in-law, former Kopassus commander Prabowo Subianto, is one of the frontrunners in this year's presidential race. And more importantly to Mugiyanto, he's the man responsible for his kidnapping along with 22 other pro-democracy activists in 1998. Nine survived, one was found dead, and 13 were never seen again. Prabowo is also suspected of involvement in multiple human rights atrocities in East Timor, something he denies.

During an investigation into the kidnappings which lasted until 2002, Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights tried to interview Prabowo, but he consistently refused to show up. But recently, a senior army official has come forward to say he knows where the missing 13 bodies are, so the case is being reopened. The Human Rights Commission has said that they have to interview Prabaowo this time, but it's unlikely that it will happen before the July 9 election.

In 1998, Mugiyanto had been working with the Indonesian People's Democratic Party (PRD), an organization that had been banned by the government and scapegoated for anti-Suharto riots in 1996. Over the ensuing two years the PRD's leadership were jailed and tortured and its members slowly hunted down by Prabowo's troops and the military police.

Mugiyanto was in Jakarta to meet with other pro-democracy activists to organize protests against the government when he was taken on March 13, 1998. VICE News caught up with him outside the Kopassus headquarters.

VICE: So how did you get caught?
Mugiyanto: I had just come back to our safe house where I was meant to meet the others (fellow rights activists Nezar and Aan). There was a hot drink still sitting out, still hot, so I assumed that they had just left.

I called Nezar’s pager, but got no response. I felt that something could be wrong, so I packed my documents and passport and waited. When I looked out the window I saw the house was suddenly surrounded by men. That's when I thought, I'm going to die.

Where did they take you?
I got packed into a car, told to take off my shirt, and then they blindfolded me with the shirt. Then they put something to my head, and they told me to be careful or I would get “this,” whatever it was, I think it was a gun. But they didn’t interrogate me. It was a long trip. I only heard them debating about the traffic. They were arguing about “we should go this way” or “we should go that way.”

Suddenly the car stopped. I walked only about three or four steps and I felt it was cold, very breezy or windy. And I heard water flowing, and I could hear a whipping sound “tch-taa, tch-taa.” I was thinking, I’m in a rice field, and I’m going to be killed there.

Years later we worked out that it was the Kopassus headquarters that I had been taken to.

They asked me, what is your name and my other details. And from then on whenever they didn’t like my answer they would beat me. My face, my body — they kicked me, and they asked me to stand up again, and then beat me again.

My lips were broken. I managed not to tell them much, but they already knew. This welcome beating went on for about five or ten minutes.

That was just five or ten minutes? What did they do with you the rest of the two days?
They asked me to take off my clothes and shoes so I was wearing only my underpants. And after that they asked me to lay down on my back on a bed, and they tied my hands and feet to the bed. I had no idea where I was, I still sort of thought I was in a rice field somewhere.

And then they continued asking me about my friends. “You know Nezar” they would say. That was also the time that I realized that whip the sound “tch-taa, tch-taa” was not a whip, but electric shocks — because they used it on my leg and on my head.

Then they stopped torturing me and stopped interrogating me, and I heard there was another person there, also being beaten, being electrocuted, shouting, crying and I realized that it was Nezar.

So I thought Oh my God, Nezar is here because I’d paged him when I got home and the pager was already with Kopassus. It turns out Nezar was taken one hour earlier than me.

He was being tortured very severely. And when they stopped torturing him, there was also another person there, crying, shouting and screaming. It was Aan Rusdianto, our other friend. So there were three of us that were the target of this torture, of this interrogation. Three of us separated by about 5 meters between each of us.

What was the worst part of the torture?
The most painful part was not when I was being tortured, because I can express myself, I can express my pain. The most difficult part was when my friend was being tortured, and they start screaming and I had to listen to them. That’s the most painful part.

The hardest part is protecting your friends. Because that’s what we agreed — when we are arrested, we have to protect our friends. But of course there is a point where you cannot stand anymore — so I told them some information where it was necessary, about the party programs, but still protected my comrades.

Why do you think they didn't kill you?
I think the three of us were released because when I was taken from the house there had been many military units involved, and I became like the object of competition. There were different military factions who wanted to keep me to get the credit. And because I was taken to two military offices before being taken to Kopassus. Some activists were taken directly to Kopassus, but not in my case. And because of that many people knew about me being taken, the public knew (the head of the community had been there when he was taken) and so, for their security — so they couldn’t be accused of killing us — we were then handed back to the police. I was very lucky.

Prabowo has admitted being the officer responsible for the operation but denies knowledge of the torture or the killing. Has he apologized for what happened? There has been no expression of regret for what he did in the past. What he said, what he has expressed is his pride for what he did in the past. His pride. For example securing nine of the survivors, me and the other eight. For setting us free. He’s said that these nine activists should thank me. Ha. Fuck you.

Looking at Indonesia now, do you think that it was worth all the shit that you had to go through?
Yeah I think so. I mean, yeah we have changed. We contributed to this change, so yes I think it’s worth it. Something needed to be sacrificed.

Would a Prabowo presidency reverse all that progress?
Yes it would be a setback. Prabowo belongs to the past. Prabowo is a problem of the past. Because the ideas that he brings, is to bring us back — to roll back the democracy and freedom that we have achieved. So for sure, to have Prabowo as the president — I cannot imagine that this kind of person, who is so bloodied, who has such a history, can become the president. He’s at the forefront of those defending his father-in-law Suharto, and can that sort of person be the President of Indonesia 16 years later? No, I don’t think so.

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