I was tortured: Fatwa

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) A.M. Fatwa testified on Tuesday in an ad hoc rights tribunal that he had been a victim of torture by military personnel in the wake of the bloody 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre.

Fatwa, who testified against former military police chief Maj. Gen. (ret) Pranowo, said while he was being held at a military detention center in Cimanggis, Bogor regency, a number of military personnel tortured him to extract information about his involvement in a demonstration that led to the massacre.

In his fiery testimony, Fatwa also told the courtroom that Pranowo was not the only one to blame for atrocities against civilians, as he merely executed an order from his seniors: former president Soeharto, then-Indonesian Military (ABRI; now TNI) commander Gen. (ret) LB Moerdani and then-Jakarta Military commander Maj. Gen. Try Sutrisno.

""Former president Soeharto and LB Moerdani should also be tried for ordering the crackdown. However, due to their poor health, both could be pardoned,"" he said.

When asked by tribunal member Sunaryo on his knowledge of the Islamic reconciliation settlement, known as islah, Fatwa replied: ""The idea is noble, but in practice it was merely a fabrication devised to absolve a number of high-ranking military personnel who were implicated in the human rights abuse.""

He said the initiative for islah came from only a handful of people who might not represent the majority of massacre victims.

Pranowo is charged with unlawfully detaining up to 169 civilians without warrants. The detainees were reportedly tortured by members of the military police, some suffering serious injuries, and were also denied contact with their families.

The prosecution has also charged him with violating Articles 7 and 42 of Law No. 26/2000 on crimes against humanity.

Violation of the law carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of death.

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