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Former intel chief says Kopassus assassins should be given a medal

Detik News - April 8, 2013

Ikhwanul Habibi, Jakarta – The Cebongan Prison case in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta involving 11 members of the army's elite Special forces (Kopassus) is a result of the law falling silent, so the murder of former Kopassus First Sergeant Heru Santoso by thugs at a cafe in Yogyakarta on March 19 resulted in guns doing the talking.

"The widespread thuggery in Yogyakarta proves that the law is silent. The law is unable to touch these thugs. The law still has legal force but it no longer has legitimacy. The law does not have adhesiveness, so society no longer trusts it", said former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief AM Hendropriyono when speaking with Detik.com on Monday April 8.

In the eyes of the intelligence school founder, the highest law is the safety of the ordinary people. Because of this therefore, if the law is unable to protect the ordinary people, guns will speak instead.

"So in legal terms they are wrong, but in moral terms they are right. If necessary they should be awarded the Mahaputra medal", said Hendropriyono, who was the chief of BIN in 2001-2004.

Because of this therefore, the 1967 alumni of the military academy is asking society to understand the case comprehensively, not partially. Hendropriyono also asked that society not try to implicate senior Kopassus leaders in the case.

"Viewing what was done by the Kopassus soldiers at Cebongan, in moral terms they are good soldiers, but in legal terms they are wrong. Even if they are tried by the law, they are still good soldiers. If necessary they should be decorated by society. The law say's who is innocent and who is guilty. Morals say who is good and who is bad. The law is silent, so it is guns that speak", concluded Hendropriyono. (asp/fdn)

Notes

1. Bintang Mahaputera – The Star of Mahaputera (BMP) medal is awarded to a person who has given extraordinary service to the country in certain areas outside the military. It is the second highest decoration awarded by the Indonesian government.

2. AM Hendropriyono was formally an officer in the army's elite Special Forces Kopassus which were responsible for many of the human rights violations in East Timor and Aceh. He was also the chief of the Jakarta military command and later became the minister for transmigration and resettlement. Hendropriyono was in direct command of the troops which perpetrated the Lampung massacre in 1989. US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 also implicate Hendropriyono in the planning of the murder of human rights campaigner Munir.

[Eks Kepala BIN: Kalau Perlu, 11 Anggota Kopassus Dapat Bintang Mahaputra – detikNews. Senin, 08/04/2013. Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service.]

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