Headlines

Blame game begins over
burqa breakout

The Jakarta Police say they are not at fault for the lax security at their detention center that allowed a convicted terrorist to escape while dressed as a woman in a burqa.

Instead, they are blaming officers from the National Police’s elite Densus 88 counterterrorism squad assigned to guard cells on the fourth-floor detention facility where the missing inmate had been detained.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Thursday that it was possible that the Densus 88 unit on scene did not lock the door separating the cells and the visitors’ room, paving the way for Roki Apris Dianto, who has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for terrorism, to escape.

“We suspect that Roki had observed the security loopholes during visiting hours. He knew that the door was unlocked by the officers to ease visiting procedures, Rikwanto said.

The door should have been locked between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday when Roki escaped, Rikwanto said. Although the case is still under investigation, he said that sanctions would be imposed on officers from the elite unit. “It was under [Densus 88’s] surveillance, not the Jakarta Police,” he said.

The National Police, however, begged to differ, saying that Densus 88 and the Jakarta Police shared
responsibility.

“The convict escaped from the [Jakarta Police] detention center. The surveillance was done by both Jakarta Police officers and Densus 88,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar told The Jakarta Post.

Despite the irregularities, Rikwanto dismissed allegations that certain officers may have aided Roki’s escape.

Boy declined to comment on allegations that officers in charge at the detention center left before visiting hours had ended and were nowhere to be seen at 3 p.m., when Roki’s escape was discovered. “I do not know about that information,” Boy said.

Roki reportedly escaped through the front door of the detention center around 1:30 p.m. dressed as a woman in a burqa (Muslim veil and long dress).

The escape comes only days after Insp. Gen. Putut Eko Bayuseno was inaugurated as Jakarta’s new police chief, replacing Insp. Gen. Untung S. Radjab, who retired.

The Jakarta Police are questioning 13 people, including seven of their own, three Densus 88 officers and three inmates.

Rikwanto said that CCTV footage from the detention center was now with the National Police.

Roki shared his cell with several other convicted terrorists and was seen donning a veil while still in his cell, according to reports.

According to Rikwanto, most of the 23 visitors at the detention center on Tuesday were women in burqas who were not given body searches due to the absence of women police officers.

“There are no [women police officers] in charge at the facility. This is one of the standard operating procedures that we need to fix,” he added.

Roki’s cell is located at the fourth floor of the detention center, which is used to hold terrorist convicts. There are 69 convicted and suspected terrorists, excluding Roki, at the facility, Rikwanto said.

Roki was sentenced to prison in November 2011 for leading a terrorist cell in Klaten, Central Java, that planned to bomb several targets, including three police posts and two churches in Klaten in December 2010.

Media reports said that Roki was also linked to slain Malaysian terrorist kingpin Noordin M. Top, who is thought to be one of the planners of the suicide bomb attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta in 2009. (nad)

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