Dungeon awaits graft suspects
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In a move sure to induce nightmares in the minds of graft suspects, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is preparing holding cells in a military detention center where political prisoners were tortured and executed during the New Order regime.
The KPK will soon utilize the so-called Guntur detention center on Jl. Guntur in South Jakarta in line with its cooperative agreement with the Indonesian Military (TNI), which is in charge of the property.
“We will use the [Guntur] detention center as soon as the renovation is completed,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi told the press on Friday.
According to Johan, the move to use the military detention center to hold graft suspects was part of the KPK-TNI memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2005.
Speculation has circulated that the Guntur facility was being prepared for Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a high-profile suspect in the driving simulator procurement project at the National Police Traffic Corps.
Many have raised concerns that the KPK could not effectively monitor Djoko and prevent intervention from the police force if he were detained inside the KPK headquarters, based on doubts in the ability of police officers guarding the cell to remain neutral despite their strong esprit de corps.
The involvement of the military is expected to boost the KPK’s confidence in clamping down on graft within the police force, which is still commonly viewed as an inferior organization in comparison with the TNI, despite their formal separation in 1999 after the fall of Soeharto.
The KPK spokesman, however, denied that the new facility was only designed for police suspects. “The facility is not only for driving simulator graft suspects but also for any suspects who would be detained by KPK,” he said,
Aside from Djoko, there are at least three other graft suspects who still enjoy life on the outside. They are Dendy Prasetya (a suspect in the Koran procurement project), Dedy Kusdinar (a suspect in the Hambalang sports complex construction project) and legislator Izedrik Emir Moeis (a suspect in the bribery case centering on the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Tarahan, Lampung).
The KPK ensured the graft suspects detained at the Guntur detention center would get the same treatment as those locked up in the KPK’s detention center in the basement of its headquarters on Jl. Rasuna Said.
Johan said that in addition to TNI security guards, the KPK would station its personnel at the new detention center.
While the detention area at the KPK’s headquarters has only 10 cells, the Guntur detention center can reportedly accommodate 25 people.
During Soeharto’s New Order era, the military facility was known as a notorious place used to hold political prisoners, including those associated with the outlawed Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
Several former detainees have testified about the hellish days they spent there.
Former political prisoner Bedjo Untung testified in several media outlets last year that many detainees were interrogated and tortured by military personnel under the New Order regime with such ferocity that they confessed to things they had never done.
Separately, Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Denny Indra-yana said that the ministry supported the KPK’s placement of detainees in the Guntur detention center because the ministry often saw many violations of the law when a detainee or a convict was placed in a regular penitentiary.
“There is nothing wrong with the KPK having a special penitentiary, including the one in Guntur,” he said, adding that the ministry had signed the agreement for the KPK to use the facility.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad said on Thursday that the TNI was a strategic partner in the KPK’s efforts to eradicate corruption. “We hope that this cooperation can yield an independent synergy between law enforcers,” he said.
TNI chief Agus Suhartono said that the MoU signed with the KPK was the manifestation of TNI’s support to help the antigraft body fight against corruption. “Our support is a part of our commitment to put the nation’s interest above a group’s or individual’s needs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Police has recalled 20 police officers seconded to the KPK to work as investigators, almost one third of the commission’s total investigative force.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said on Friday that the officers would return to work with the police.
Johan of the KPK confirmed the recall, saying that the commission’s leaders were still discussing how to respond. He declined to discuss why the reasons behind the recall, only calling the move “unprecedented”.
“The National Police have usually only asked for one or two officers back because it needed them, but not 20 officers at once,” Johan said. (cor)