The House of Representatives said it would question the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) next week over a report saying Indonesia was complicit in the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) secret operation to detain and torture suspected terrorists worldwide following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“The publication of the report has apparently gained public attention. Thus, we will ask the BIN for explanation in a hearing slated for next week,” Mahfudz Siddiq, the chairman of the House’s Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs, said on Thursday.
Mahfudz said the nation’s spy agency had yet to inform the commission about such a partnership with the CIA.
“We want to know details about the engagement of our intelligence body with the CIA operation because although BIN can work together with foreign agencies in a covert operation, it’s wrong to torture as we have ratified the UN Convention Against Torture,” Mahfudz of the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) said.
Indonesia ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in October 1998, an international human rights instrument that prohibits the direct use of torture as well as the deportation of people to countries where they will evidently be tortured.
BIN Spokesperson Ruminta did not respond to The Jakarta Post’s text messages or phone calls for comment.
The 213-page report by New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) showed that Indonesia had aided the CIA by arresting suspected terrorists to be extraordinarily rendered under the agency’s secret detention program in the years following the 9/11 attacks.
The report, titled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition”, revealed that the former chief of BIN, AM Hendropriyono, arrested three suspected terrorists since 2002, and allowed them to be transferred to other countries to be secretly detained and tortured.
The first known report of such a practice was on Jan. 9, 2002, when Hendropriyono allegedly arrested Muhammed Saad Iqbal Madni, a Pakistani-Egyptian national in Jakarta, after Indonesian intelligence officials passed on information to the CIA that he allegedly told members of an Indonesian Islamic group that he knew how to make a shoe bomb, an allegation he subsequently denied.
Hendropriyono also reportedly allowed Madni to be subsequently extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt, where he was held in a six-by-four foot cell and tortured by Egyptian interrogators using electric shocks.
Hendropriyono was not available for comment on Thursday.
Omar al-Faruq, an al-Qaeda representative in Southeast Asia who reportedly married an Indonesian woman, was also arrested in Bogor, West Java, in 2002, and subsequently subjected to secret CIA detention at Bagram Airfield, one of the largest US military bases in Afghanistan.
The report also mentioned that Salah Nasir Salim Ali Qaru (Marwan al-Adeni) was arrested and detained in 2003 and transferred without the permission of a court or legal authority from Indonesia to Jordan, where he was tortured by Jordanian intelligence services.
Besides Indonesia, the report also revealed other 53 other foreign governments reportedly participated in these operations in various ways, including by hosting CIA prisons on their territories; detaining, interrogating, torturing and abusing individuals; assisting in the capture and transport of detainees; and interrogating individuals who were secretly being held in the custody of other governments.
In the report, the human rights watchdog also lambasted the inhumane practices, saying that torture is not only illegal and immoral but also ineffective in producing reliable intelligence.
The report cited numerous professional US interrogators who have confirmed that torture did not produce reliable intelligence, and that rapport-building techniques were far more effective in eliciting such intelligence.