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Hard-line general admits meeting with anti-communist protesters prior to attack on 1965 seminar

Tempo - September 19, 2017

Arkhelaus W., Jakarta – Retired Major General Kivlan Zen admits to meeting with Anti-Communist Student and Youth Alliance (Aliansi Mahasiswa dan Pemuda Anti Komunis) coordinator Rahmat Imran prior to the attack on the 1965 historical seminar at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices. Zen however denies being the mastermind behind the attack.

"I know Imran, we're acquainted. He was the one who invited me. Those acting in the name of the anti-communist alliance", said Zen at the National Police headquarter Criminal Investigation Bureau (Badan Reserse Kriminal) offices in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday September 19.

Zen said that his meeting with Imran took place on the evening of Friday September 15 or the day before the 1965 historical seminar was to be held at the YLBHI. The meeting was held at Jl. Menteng Number 58 in Central Jakarta. "I didn't chair the meeting but was invited to speak", he said.

Zen says that he gave advice to the youth alliance prior to the group carrying out the plan to protest the 1965 seminar. "I came to give advice. My advice was not to cause a riot. Don't enter the [YLBHI office] grounds because it's illegal", he said.

Zen was also enraged when YLBHI activist Muhammad Isnur cited him as being the provocateur or mastermind behind the attack on the YLBHI offices on Sunday evening. "So accordingly, we have long suspected that the LBH is trying to reopen old wounds", he said.

Between Sunday evening and Monday the YLBHI and the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices have been besieged by hundreds of protesters from several different organisations.

The siege was justified on the grounds that an "Asik Asik Asik" art event was being held at the building. The protesters claimed that the event was linked with the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

The siege followed protests against plans by the LBH Jakarta to hold a historical seminar on the alleged PKI coup in 1965 that was to take place on Saturday September 16.

The police, under pressure from the protesters, eventually closed down the discussion that was to be attended by, among others, elderly survivors of the 1965 tragedy. The YLBHI later accused Zen and Imran as being the masterminds behind the attack.


1. Speaking on Prime News CNN Indonesia TV on Monday September 18, Rahmat Imran said that before going to the LBH he went to the Metro Jaya District Police Intelligence and Security Directorate to inform them about plans to hold a demonstration in front of the LBH Jakarta offices. He added that the police stated that they had had a discussion with LBH Jakarta and that they did not have a permit for the event nor had provided prior notification to police.

2. Number 58 Jalan Menteng Central Jakarta is listed as the headquarters of the Indonesian Islamic Youth Movement (Gerakan Pemuda Islam Indonesia, GPII), an ultra right-wing anti-communist group that has been involved in attacks on leftist events and minority religious groups. It also took part in the mass demonstrations against former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama during the Jakarta gubernatorial elections.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Kivlan Zen Akui Bertemu Rahmat Imran Menjelang Pengepungan YLBHI.]

Source: https://m.tempo.co/read/news/2017/09/19/078910678/kivlan-zen-akui-bertemu-rahmat-imran-menjelang-pengepungan-ylbhi.

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