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Course broken up, participants arrested

Tapol - August 1, 1997

A 'Training for Trainers' (TFT) course for members of the unrecognised trade union federation, the SBSI, being held in Lampung, South Sumatra, was broken up by a joint unit of military and police. After being questioned for three hours, the 26 participants were taken off and held at the local police command.

The course was scheduled to last from 27 July until 5 August but had to be abandoned after the raid took place on 29 July.

The course was being held in Pringsewu, sub-district Tangganus, South Lampung.

The venue was raided at 3pm. All those present were prevented from leaving the premises and subjected to questioning.

At 8pm, while the security forces were still there, three activists who were scheduled to give lectures at the course turned up. It was only after their arrival that all the participants were ordered into an awaiting truck and taken to the police office.

The three resource people are Dedi Mawardi and Syahzan Syafri, both lawyers from an organisation called the Indonesian Foundation for Education and Legal Aid (YPBHI), and Budi Susilo of the SBSI. Those involved in running the course have the impression that the security forces had mounted the raid in order to capture these three men; they seem to have had advanced knowledge of when the men were due to arrive.

After being held for three days, everyone was released.

Several other NGO events have been halted by the security forces recently in North Sumatra.

A meeting on agrarian issues held by the KSPPM (?) in Berastagi, North Sumatra was broken up in April this year and all the participants were taken into custody for interrogation by the local police.

In early April this year, Wahana Informasi Masyarakat (WIM), the Information Networkd was ordered to abandon its annual conference by the local police. They were told to hold the event after the elections. However, when WIM tried to hold the postponed annual meeting on 19 June, the meeting was raided by the local police and ordered to disband.

A gathering for purposes of reflection convened by WALHI-Aceh, the Aceh Forum and Konsep had to be abandoned on the orders of the social-political affairs office of the local administration.