Jakarta – The head of Indonesian Police Public Relations Division Information Section, Senior Commissioner Asep Adi Saputra, says that police are currently looking into the involvement of Kopassus' Rose Team (Tim Mawar) in the riots that took place in Jakarta on May 22.
The army Special Forces (Kopassus) Rose Team was tasked with abducting pro-democracy activists in 1997-1998. The investigation follows revelations by the June 10 edition of Tempo Magazine which revealed the involvement of a former member of the Rose Team in the riots, Fauka Noor Farid.
"In relation to the involvement of one of the team [members], the term is, it's currently being looked into. In principal the investigating officers are making efforts to investigate [the allegations] by following up on various sources of information, including from the said media [Tempo]. What is clear of course is that they will use special methods for the investigation, so that we understand the involvement of various individuals and groups", said Saputra at the national police headquarters in Jakarta on Monday June 10.
According to the Tempo Magazine article, Farid was in the vicinity of the Sarinah shopping mall in central Jakarta during the demonstrations which ended in rioting in front of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) building on Jl MH Thamrin.
The article also said that he held several meetings to discuss the planned demonstrations at the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno election campaign team (BPN) offices on Jl Kertanegara in South Jakarta and at a hotel near the Cut Meutia Hotel in the Central Jakarta suburb of Menteng.
Tempo said that the information was obtained from two sources inside the BPN itself. In response to the source of the information, Saputra explained that the police have not yet been able to draw any conclusions. "It's still under investigation", he repeated.
Speaking in relation to the revelations about the mastermind behind the May 22 riots, Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolkam) Wiranto stated that the police must be transparent in informing the public about the legal process and results of the investigation into the riots in Jakarta on May 21-22.
In addition to this, the former ABRI (Indonesian armed forces, now TNI) chief has obtained information that the national police will reveal the mastermind behind the rots on Tuesday June 11. According to Wiranto, police will explain in detail the Investigation Report (BAP) on several figures.
"We want there to be a detailed explanation about the figures who have been arrested, what the reasons were, and on what grounds. Tomorrow it will be conveyed in full to the public", said Wiranto.
Between 1997 and 1998 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the army's Special Forces (Kopassus) Rose Team (Tim Mawar). After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. In April 1999, 11 low-ranking Kopassus officers were tried by a military court for the kidnappings and given sentences of between a year and 22 months in prison. Then Captain Fauka Noor Farid along with six others were allowed to keep their positions in the army. Former Kopassus commander Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto, who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law, has admitted to ordering the abductions but denies ordering their torture and claims they were all released alive and well. Prabowo himself was discharged from the military over the abductions but has never been tried in court.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polisi Dalami Keterlibatan Tim Mawar dalam Kerusuhan 22 Mei".]