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Jan '99

Trial of attack on detainees : Major Baju hit out of emotion

The military, suspected to have mistreated the detainees from Operation Prestige ‘99 in Lhokseumawe, causing the death of four persons, were tried on Saturday (16/1). At the first trial the suspects were an officer, Major (Inf.) Bayu Najib and four soldiers who were assigned at Korem 011/Liliwangsa, Lhokseumawe.

Major (Inf) Bayu Najib, the daily executive commander from Battalion 113/Jaya Sakti (Glorious and Powerful) was tried by the High Military Court of Medan which held a session in Banda Aceh. The session was presided by Colonel CHK Sri Umi Sularsih. The military auditor Colonel CHK S Elgin accused Bayu to have beaten a number of detainees from Operation Prestige ‘99 who were sheltered in the building of the Indonesian Youth National Committee (KNPI) in Lhokseumawe on 9 January.

While the suspects with the rank of soldier were simultaneously tried by the Military Court I-01 of Banda Aceh. The four mentioned suspects are Praka (lower than corporal) Amsir, Praka M Harahap, First Class Soldier M Situmorang, and Praka Efendi. They are accused of mistreating some detainees.

Meanwhile the Army Commander in Chief, General Subagyo Hadisiswoyo declared Saturday to the press in Bandung that members of the Armed Forces who mistreated detainees or were involved in riots would certainly get a sanction. The sanction depended on the seriousness of the crime.

Beating admitted

During the trial Bayu Najib’s legal advisor was Captain CHK J. Silaban. The military prosecutor declared that during the incident the defendant forcibly entered the KNPI building which was guarded by three provost guards from Korem 011/Liliwangsa. In the building where for the time being the detainees were kept, who were suspected to be involved in the riots of Lhokseumawe - which was related with Achmad Kandang, one of the prominent persons in the illegal disturbers movement - the defendant hit a number of detainees.

Bayu admitted to have beaten the detainees of Operation Prestige ‘99 because he lost self control. He was looking for information of one of his subalterns who was abducted some days earlier by a group of persons in Lhoknibong. He was forced to beat the detainees because they gave no answer on his question.

The defendant declared to have beaten three persons only with an electric cable and that he had brought no subalterns. His declaration differed with the testimony of Captain (Inf) Junaidi from Korem 011/Liliwangsa, who declared to have tried to avoid the beating, which was done in particular by his subalterns.

The witness Captain (Pol) Muryanto even declared that the defendant beat in great numbers. In order to enter the KNPI building, the defendant together with his subalterns attacked the provost on guard.

The witness second class Corporal Bejo of the provost declared not to be able to avoid the attack due to his limited strength. He also saw the defendant beating the detainees.

Lukman Syarif (30), one of the victims who would actually testify could not be present as he was still treated in the hospital. But his official report was read by the military attorney. The citizen from the district of Kutamakmur, North Aceh declared that he was beaten with a bayonet, an electric cable and other articles. He had to stand facing the wall and was beaten from behind.

The case was processed in marathon and will even be continued on Sunday (17/1). Although the case attracted the attention of the public, not many persons were present during the trial.

Meanwhile the Vice Chairman of KNPI North Aceh, Martin Ramadhan declared in his written statement to Kompas in Jakarta that the authorities had never officially borrowed the KNPI building - which is actually owned by the regional government of North Aceh - to be used as provisional house of detention. The KNPI chairman of N Aceh had even informed his objections against this to the commander of Korem 011/Liliwangsa and the Regent of North Aceh.

Sumber : (*) Harian Kompas, Banda Aceh

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