Table of Contents
- Strengthening AFAD’s Unity…
- Years of Trials and Triumphs…
- NO political reform, NO hope for justice…
- Hunger Strike
- Indonesian Human Rights Movement…
- Crime and Punishment
- Anti-enforced Disappearance Bill
- A Life That is Never The Same Again
- Kashmiri families of missing person stage…
- Disappearances in Sri Lanka
Report on International Lobbying
- A Narrative of Contrast
- Where are They?
- Working Towards an African Network
- Reduced to Ashes: The Insurgency…
Mid Year Report
Indonesian Human Rights Movement
(The Second Attack Against KontraS’ Office)
by 1Mugiyanto and
On May 27, 2003, when KontraS and Ikohi were conducting a press conference as part of the series of activities to commemorate the International Week of the Disappeared, the office of
KontraS was attacked by 150 members of the Pemuda Panca Marga
(PPM), a paramilitary unit affiliated with the military. The PPM is an organization of the children of veterans. When they demonstrated against
KontraS, they wore their formal uniform that looks very much like that of the military. They demanded to meet Munir who is outspoken in voicing human rights and critical of the government policies on Aceh. They wanted Munir and
KontraS not to talk about Aceh anymore. Otherwise they will come again and force Munir to meet them . Responding to the demonstrators, Usman Hamid, a Presidium member of
KontraS asked them to a dialogue, but was refused by the demonstrators. After giving speeches and hanging posters condemning Munir for his critical position and commitment in promoting human rights, the
PPM locked the gate before they finally left KontraS’ office.
The day after, on May 28, 2003 at about 12.30 p.m., the members of the PPM came again to the office of
KontraS. This time with a bigger number, about 100 persons. Also wearing the
PPM uniform, they forcefully asked KontraS to present Munir. Ori Rahman, then Coordinator of
KontraS came out to meet the angry PPM members. The PPM members who sported angry and drunken looks, shouted at
KontraS personnel for not being nationalists and for being agents of dividing the Indonesian unitary state. To prove their accusation, the
PPM forced Ori Rahman to sing Indonesia Raya (the Great Indonesia), the Indonesian Anthem. There is no way to refuse it , as we were facing the thugs. While singing the anthem, Ori Rahman was also forced to hold the flag. Being quite nervous in facing the one hundred
PPM members who looked like angry thugs, Ori Rahman forgot one single word of the anthem. Hearing the mistake, one
PPM member beat Ori Rahman’s head from behind. When Gian Moko of the Public Opinion Division tried to help Ori Rahman, other members of the
PPM beat and kicked him. At the same time, tens of them broke the doors, windows and other pieces of office equipment. They also broke and tore the posters and pictures of the victims of disappearances hanging on the wall. Satisfied after doing all those things for about one hour, they marched back yelling with their militaristic slogans. Before dispersing, they said they will go to the office of the
PBHI (Indonesian Association of Legal and Human Rights Advocate) to do the same thing. They did not, however, do physical harm to the
The KontraS office has been attacked physically two times. The first time was one year ago, after
KontraS , along with family members of the victims of Trisakti and
Semanggi Tragedy3, organized a demonstration against General Wiranto regarding his responsibility in the tragedy. They accused Munir and
KontraS of distroying the integrity of Wiranto. On that day, about 150 persons on buses stopped in front of the
KontraS office. They came to see Munir. But, very quickly, they rapidly smashed the doors, windows, tables, computers and took files and books. About 4
KontraS staff members were hurt.
The Development of the Case
The previous attack to KontraS was then handled by the Central Jakarta Police. The police conducted an investigation of the witnesses. Testimonies of the witnesses were given and the video documentary was submitted to identify the actors of the attack and vandalism. Based on the testimonies of the witnesses and the video, it was very clear who were the actors . However, the police arrested only three members of the
PPM, and none of them were those mentioned in the testimonies and seen on the video.
Recently, KontraS asked the police about developments of the case. It found out that those being arrested are the same three persons, regardless of the fact that the testimonies of the witnesses and the video footage mentioned many other names. The officer of the a state- owned company,
PDAM is still free at the moment. KontraS believes that the arrest of the leader of the attack is important, since he is responsible for it in the same manner that the police arrested the Commander of the Right Wing Front of the Defender of Islam (FDI) that attacked night clubs in Jakarta.
KontraS has protested against the police for arresting more people of the
PPM who were involved in the attack by chasing them to the headquarters of the
PPM, which is at the same time headquarters of the Central Jakarta Military District
Command4. In one newspaper, it is mentioned that the leader of the attack is also the leader of the
PPM and a government officer in PDAM.
Omission by the Police Officers
A few hours before the attack, some journalists warned KontraS about the coming of the
PPM. The journalists received the information from the police. When the
PPM finally came to KontraS, behind them were the journalists who were to cover the
PPM action. But where were the police? None of them showed up when the
PPM came to attack KontraS’ office. KontraS had actually contacted the police that the
PPM was about to come and would possibly harm its office. The police reported that they were waiting for the command to act and were trying to coordinate. As a result, everything was too late. The police arrived after the front room of
KontraS had already been destroyed, and three Presidium members beaten.
The delay and absence of the police in the office of KontraS when it was being attacked is a crime by omission. The police intentionally came late even if they knew that a criminal act was about to occur .
The Return of the Authoritarian Regime
The physical attack, destruction and silencing of the criticism of the people towards government policies are acts of fascism. It is an indication of the return of an authoritarian regime. There has been a setback in the life of democracy and human rights promotion by the democratic movement after the fall of Suharto. The worldwide trend to use military solutions to solve problems and conflicts after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center has really inspired the Indonesian policy makers in dealing with problems and conflicts, especially the one in Aceh. In the name of nationalism, national integrity and the principle of the unitary state of Indonesia, the government has chosen the military to impose its influence on the country’s political life. Given that premise , any violent act is allowed. Those who are critical bear the brunt of reprisals.
This time, KontraS was the target of the attack. Later, any other organization critical of the government and military policies is eligible to be another target. To prevent another attack , our choice is not stop being critical of government policies. The attack against
KontraS is an attack against human rights and the democratic movement in general. Thus, human rights defenders need to unite and patiently explain to the population the real nature of the principles of democracy and the promotion and protection of human rights.
1 Mugiyanto is the founding chairperson of Ikohi. He himself became a victim of involuntary disappearance when he was kept in secret detention, during which he was physically and psychologically tortured by the Kopasus immediately after the fall of Suharto in 1998. Three months after, he was released.
2 Sri Suparyati is the head of the Advocacy Department of KontraS. As a lawyer, she appeared before the President of Indonesia, the Chief of Indonesian Police, the District police of Kotawaringin Timur, Governor of Central Kalimantan, District office of Kotawaringin, Timur on the issue of ethnic conflict in Sampit, Central Kalimantan and in Citizens’ Lawsuit of migrant workers in Nunukan. She participated in a fellowship program on Transitional Justice in the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
3 The Trisakti Tragedy was the shooting of the students protesting against the Suharto regime that claimed the lives 6 students of the
Trisakti University. The Semanggi Tragedy was the shooting of the students and the demonstrators who opposed Habibie as Suharto’s successor in 1998 and also protested against the application of the Internal Security Law in 1999. Semanggi refers to the bridge where the shooting happened.
4 The headquarters of the PPM is known from the statement they released during the attack, which is in the same place as the headquarters of the Central Jakarta Military District Command.
VOICE September 2003