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Three Aceh activists to be charged with treason

Tempo Interactive - February 27, 2004

Banda Aceh – Police have admitted to arresting and detaining a number of student activists in Aceh. Of the eleven activists which were arrested, three of them are still being held under charges of being involved with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

The three activists, who have been declared as suspects in acts of treason against the state, are Masrizal (30), Iwan Irama Putra (24), an activist from the Linge University and High-school Students Association (Ikatan Mahasiswa dan Pelajar Linge, IMPEL) and Herlina (23), an activist from IMPEL and the Women’s Organisation for Aceh Democracy (Organisasi Perempuan Demokratik Aceh, Orpad). The three are currently being held by the Aceh police.

The head of the Rencong I Law Enforcement Operational Unit, Superintendent Sayed [Husaeny], denied that the arrests of the three activist were linked with their activities as human rights activists. According to Husaeny, the three were arrested because it is strongly suspected that they were involved in an attack on a Brimob (Mobile Brigade) operational unit which resulted in the death of three Brimob officers including the company commander, Iptu Budi, on September 18, 2000. “The detention of these three people is simply because they have broken the law”, Husaeny told journalists in Banda Aceh on Thursday February 26. “They were arrested because they meet the criteria of [having committed] a criminal act of subversion”, he said.

The three were arrested at different times and separate locations. Masrzal was arrested by the Aceh police search team on February 18. Police obtained the names of two other people from Masrzal who were also suspected of being involved in the attack, Herlina and Iwan Irama Putra.

Iwan Irama Putra, who is a student of the Tarbiyah Faculty of the Ar-Raniry State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN) in Banda Aceh, was arrested on February 22. The day before, police arrested three Acehnese women activists, Harlina, Nova Rahayu and Nursida. All three are Orpad activists. On February 24, Nova Rahayu and Nursida were released for lack of evidence.

On February 25 at around 1am, officers from Brimob arrested eight Ar-Raniry IAIN students, Abdillah (25), a student from the Faculty of Religious Studies, Fahrul Rizal (25), a student from the Faculty of Islamic law, Fahrurrazi, a member of the Ar-Raniry IAIN student Red Cross, Zainal Abidin, also a Red Cross member, Askari (23), a student from the Faculty of Culture, Akmal (26), Imam Juwaini (24), vice-president of the Ar-Raniry IAIN Student Executive Council and T. Riza Fahmi (26), an Alumni from the Faculty of Culture who is also a former vice-president of the Student Executive Council. The eight students were later released because police could find no evidence of their involvement.

One of the victims of the arrests who was contacted by the Tempo News Room on the Ar-Raniry IAIN campus refused to give any additional information. “Enough okay, I don’t want anything else to do with the police”, they said. They did however admit to being treated harshly during their arrest and interrogation at the Brimob headquarters.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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