Direct talks: Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Adm. Agus Suhartono (right) talks with National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Monday. JP/Jerry Adiguna
The President is urging the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) to be transparent in investigating the execution-style murder of detainees at Cebongan Penitentiary in Yogyakarta.
“Be accountable to the people. Make everything transparent and accountable by upholding the professionalism of law enforcement,” President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono said during a Cabinet meeting in on Monday.
Yudhoyono said that he had made similar plea to National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and TNI chief Adm. Agus Suhartono when they briefed him on March 23, only a few hours after a team of 17 heavily-armed men stormed the prison and shot dead 4 men detained for the murder of an Army commando. “I have issued an instruction to investigate this thoroughly, to bring justice to anyone involved in the hopes of upholding law and justice,” Yudhoyono added.
During the Cabinet meeting, the President also said he would support the separate investigations run by the police and the TNI.
Yudhoyono’s statements on Monday were his second since the brazen raid on the prison. No suspects have been named in the murder of the detainees, despite the presence of a host of witnesses and 31 bullets and shells recovered from the scene.
The police face a difficult situation in determining whether TNI troops were involved in the attack in apparent retaliation: the slain detainees were held in the connection with the murder of an Army Special Forces (Kopassus) commando.
Previously, Army officers have made blanket denials of TNI involvement in the prison raid. Just hours after the incident, for example, the commanding officer of the Diponegoro Military Command (Kodam), Maj. Gen. Hardiono Saroso, said that “no soldiers were involved”.
However, Army chief Pramono “Edhie” Wibowo announced last week the establishment of a nine-man team to aid police investigators after the police said that soldiers might be involved. He acknowledged that the ammunition used during the raid was of the same caliber as that used by the Army.
Although the TNI has pledged transparency, soldiers barred a team from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) from visiting Kopassus Group 2 headquarters in Surakarta, Central Java.
Meanwhile TNI chief Agus suggested that Komnas HAM curtail its investigation. “If the TNI headquarters has sufficient information, just ask headquarters,” Agus said on Monday. Agus claimed that only the Army had the authority to question Army suspects in the case.
Komnas HAM chaiperson Siti Noor Laila lambasted Agus’ statements. “This is not about who should investigate the case. Komnas HAM has the authority to conduct investigations, which is guaranteed by the law,” she said on Monday.
Meanwhile, National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli said that the Yogyakarta Police faced difficulties in producing sketches of two of the assailants. “At the moment, the sketches will not be released to the public, considering their quality. Some witnesses might have been under pressure when making their testimony,” Boy said.