Indonesia: Case IDN 140103 - Arbitrary arrests and detention/Violent repression of peaceful demonstrators

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Indonesia.
Brief description of the situation The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a member of the OMCT network, and KONTRAS- ACEH, concerning arrests of and attacks against civilians attempting to participate in peaceful demonstrations related to the peace process in Aceh, Indonesia.

According to the information received, Indonesian troops attacked civilians who were trying to participate in a peaceful gathering to show their support for the peace agreement on January 9th, 2003. During the attack by the Indonesian Armed Forces' (TNI) Unit 144 a number of civilians were shot or hit and seriously injured, despite the signing of a peace agreement between the Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) on December 9th, 2002. In other areas, the Police have arrested 10 persons in order to prevent them from attending the demonstration.

On January 9th, 2003, thousands of villagers from East and North Aceh began to go to the town of Lhokseumawe to join a peace demonstration to show their support for the cessation of hostilities between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian Government. The demonstration was coordinated by SURA, the Voice of Acehnese. Unfortunately, most of the civil society groups travelling to Lhokseumawe did not arrive there because they were blocked by the Indonesian Security Forces, and a number of villagers were shot in an attempt to disperse the people who wanted to go to Lhokseumawe.

The victims who were shot include:

  • M. Ali Usman, 22, a villager from Kampong Kumbang in Samudra Subdistrict in North Aceh who was shot in the legs;
  • Abdul Jafar, 20, a villager from Kampong Meunasah Teungoh in Syamtalira Bayu Subdistrict in North Aceh who was shot in the thigh;
  • Fikram Ismail, 21, a villager from Kampong Meunasah Teungoh who was shot in the legs;
  • Irhami Ismail, 19, a villager from Kampong Meunasah who was shot in the back.
  • Amir Ismail, 35, a villager from Nibong in Syamtalira Aron Subdistrict in North Aceh;
  • Murdiamal M, 17, a villager from Kampong Baro in Samudera Subdistrict in North Aceh;
  • Sofyan Abdullah, 35, a villager from Meunasah Glong Bayu in Syamtalira Bayu Subdistrict, North Aceh;
  • Badliansah, 42, a villager from Meunasah Bale in Syamtalira Bayu Subdistrict in North Aceh;
  • Hendra Rusli, 24, a villager from Tanjong Awe in Samudra Subdistrict in North Aceh.

Meanwhile, 10 villagers from Ujong Reuba in Geudong Subdistrict and Seunebok Rayeuk in Tanah Luas Subdistrict in North Aceh have been detained by the Police. They are Muhammad Ridwan, Murizal, Syarifuddin, Budiman, Saiful, Usman, M. Yakob, Muslem, Rusli and Murizal.

The troops who blocked the villagers from attending the demonstration have reportedly been identified as being from the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) Unit 144 or Jaya Yudha, BKO Sp. Krueng Pase in North Aceh, Brimob BKO sector police in Syamtalira Bayu and Brimob sector police in Geudong in North Aceh.

Despite the peace agreement, the Indonesian Government continues to use military and police repression towards the Acehnese people. Tripartite monitoring of the implementation of the peace agreement has been entrusted to the Government of Indonesia, the Free Aceh Movement and Geneva-based mediators from the Henry Dunant Centre (HDC). Therefore, they must investigate and determine who is responsible for this violence. This investigation must be followed by sanctions against those who violated the agreement.

While the International Secretariat of OMCT welcomes the recent signature of the peace agreement between the Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement, it is gravely concerned about these reports of violent repression, including shooting as well as arbitrary arrests, of peaceful demonstrators on the part of the Indonesian authorities. In light of this, OMCT joins KONTRAS-ACEH in urging the Joint Security Committee (JSC), which is responsible for implementing the peace agreement, to conduct an investigation into the incident and to guarantee the democratic rights of the Acehnese people, including the right to reparation and to the freedom of assembly. Furthermore, OMCT calls on the Indonesian authorities to guarantee that the perpetrators of these acts be brought to justice. OMCT also calls on the relevant authorities to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all persons that are being detained as a result of these events and to release them immediately in the absence of valid legal charges.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Indonesia urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the above-mentioned detainees;

ii. order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;

iii. guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of these events, identify those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

iv. guarantee immediate medical assistance and adequate reparation to all injured people;

v. ensure that all administrative and governmental authorities strictly abide by the internationally-guaranteed right to demonstrate;

vi. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards.


President Megawati Sukarnoputri, President RI, Istana Merdeka, Jakarta 10110, Indonesia, Fax: + 62 21 345 2685/ 526 8726 /345 7782

Minister for Justice and Human Rights, Prof. Dr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra SH MSc, Menteri Kehakiman dan HAM, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav No. 4 - 5, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950, Indonesia, Fax: + 62 21 525 3095 / 522 5036

National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, Chairman, Jl Latuharhary No. 4B, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10310, Indonesia, Fax: + 62 21 392 5227

Ambassador Nugroho Wisnumurti, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue de Saint-Jean 16, 1203 Geneva, Case postale 2271, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland, fax: + 41 22 345 57 33, e-mail:

Please also write to the embassies of Indonesia in your respective country.

Geneva, January 14th, 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
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