Archipelago

Chief warden not ok with
detainees' transfer

The chief warden of the Cebongan Prison, where four detainees were killed by a group of armed masked men early on Saturday, had earlier planned to return the four detainees to the Yogyakarta Police.

“Once I knew that these four detainees were the suspects allegedly involved in the murder of a soldier, I began to worry. I remember how angry soldiers set fire to the Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU) Police headquarters recently. Therefore, I planned to return them to the Yogyakarta Police detention center on Saturday,” chief warden Sukamto Harto said on Saturday.

He denied, however, that he had received any intelligence, insisting it was just wariness based on the previous incident in South Sumatra. In that incident, dozens of soldiers ransacked a police station and then set it on fire to show their dissatisfaction with the lengthy investigation of the case, in which one of their colleagues had been shot dead a few weeks earlier.

Yogyakarta Police chief Brig.Gen. Sabar Raharjo echoed the warden's statement, saying that the police had not received any intelligence regarding the attack. He said his decision to move the four detainees to the Cebongan Prison was due to their cell at the police detention center being under repair.

“We were afraid they might escape through the broken ceiling; therefore, I decided to transfer them to the Cebongan Penitentiary while waiting for the repairs to be completed,” Sabar said.

Commenting on this, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin, who visited the penitentiary to view the crime scene, said he expected the police, in cooperation with military police, to find who was responsible for the attack that had resulted  in the deaths of the four inmates and injuries to eight prison officers.

“Justice must be upheld. This is a serious crime that was committed in a state institution and ended up with people being killed,” he said.

A group of armed men ransacked the Cebongan Penitentiary early on Saturday morning, killing the four detainees: Yohanes Juan Mambait - a police officer, Hendrik Angel Sahetapi, Gamaliel Yermianto Rohi Riwu, and Candra Galaja, and injuring eight prison guards.

The gunmen also took CCTV footage and cut land telephone lines while inside the prison. The four detainees had been charged with the murder of First Sgt. Heru Santoso, a former member of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) who, at the time of his death, was an intelligence officer at the Diponegoro Military Command. (dic)

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