(Chairperson of Indonesia Students' Solidarity for Democracy --SMID)

I am Andi Arief, the Chairperson of Indonesian Students' Solidarity for Democracy (SMID). I am one of the victims of abduction conducted by the security forces. Until now I do not know which unit perpetrated my abduction.

I was abducted from my sister's store in Lampung on March 28, 1998. I was forced and dragged to follow the kidnappers. I saw there were three Kijang vans outside the store and I was thrown into one of the vans. I was immediately handcuffed and blindfolded with a black cloth. The kidnappers inside the car were wearing ski masks. My head was pushed down and I was stuck in this cowering position for two hours.

Suddenly the car stopped and my blindfold was released but my hands remained handcuffed. I knew that the place was Bakauheni port, the crossing place between Sumatra and Java. At that point I could clearly see my kidnappers. Two of them had long hair. The commander who sat in front told his subordinates to change the license plate and then the car went onto the ferry. I was not blindfolded for about 24 hours.

The ferry arrived in Merak Port, West Java. During the trip to Jakarta I was free to see everything. But once we reached Kebun Jeruk area, West Jakarta, I was blindfolded again. From Bakauheni to Merak I managed to acquire information that the kidnappers once were on duty in East Timor and that the commander just came back from England. Three of these five soldiers were holding firearms. They also told me that what happened to me at that time was the risk of my struggle. After that we had a long discussion about various political matters.

Around 6 pm we stopped at certain location. I was taken to a room. I did not see too many people in that room and the people who were in the room laughed when they saw me. They put another handcuff to my hands and then they attached these two handcuffs to a chair with yet another handcuff !

I was interrogated night and day. The questions mostly concerned my organization, SMID, and the party I was affiliated with, People's Democratic Party (PRD). They also asked me about L.B. Moerdani [retired general, ex-commander of the armed forces --ABRI-- and former minister of defense], Megawati Soekarnoputri [deposed Indonesian Democrqatic party --PDI-- leader], Amien Rais [the head of muslim organization Muhammadiyah], a number of figures within Pijar, Aldera, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI). They also mentioned several other names and told me that these people would be arrested soon. I was forced to admit that I knew them while actually I did not know any of them. I told them frankly that I did not know them. I was kept at the interrogation room for ten days and then I was brought down to another room. It turned out it was a cell with a size of 2 x 2.5 m. The handcuffs and blindfold were taken off. Inside the cell there was a mattress, a tub, and a toilet. I saw that there were six cells inside the building and each one was monitored by a video camera. A radio was played very loudly everyday from 5 AM to 2 AM the next day. So there were only three hours free of radio broadcast everyday. It was during this quiet time I could hear the voice of somebody praying in the cell to my right and somebody moaning out of pain in the cell to my left.

At first I did not dare to talk to any of them because we were being monitored by a video camera. But, finally I dared myself because I wanted to know who they were. I was very surprised because on the right was Waluyo Jati and Faisal Reza. Both of them were my friends at University of Gajah Mada, Yogyakarta, and SMID activists in Yogyakarta. On my left side turned out to be Haryanto Taslam [Megawati's aide]. Once I entered the cell there were toothpaste, toothbrush and a plastic bottle for drinking water. According to Faisal Reza the cell used to be occupied by Pius, and the cell to the right of Faisal Reza's cell used to be occupied by Desmond. So, both Pius and Desmond were released once I was brought to the cell.

Faisal Reza and Waluyo Jati were arrested in front of Cipto Mangunkusumo

Hospital, Central Jakarta, while Haryanto Taslam was abducted at the Miniature Garden, East Jakarta after his car was hit. Haryanto Taslam often moaned from pain and snored when he slept, maybe that was because he was a bit overweight. Waluyo Jati and Faisal Reza's bodies were ruined because they were given electric shock hundreds of times, even their genitals were given electric shocks. Actually, the interrogators also applied electric shocks to my genitals but I did not expose this fact [immediately after my release] because I did not want to hurt my parents' feelings. My parents were already horrified at the brutality just listening to my story about being blindfolded, interrogated night and day and threatened at gunpoint.

I was convinced that those who kidnapped me were part of the military because I was kept in a very spacious area. Every morning I heard the sound of trumpet for roll call. On April 15 I saw that Haryanto Taslam was brought out of the cell. There were only three of us left there. The next day, April 16, I was brought out at 11 PM. I was again blindfolded and handcuffed. I was taken by five people in an air-conditioned car. Suddenly the car stopped on the side of a toll road. I was then transferred to another car which ran on diesel gas.

It turned out that I was taken to the Central Police Headquarters. There was a transfer from the kidnappers and the police. I was taken to an isolated cell. Inside this isolated cell there were only two detainees, myself and Melisa, a defendant in a heroin case. I was handcuffed for three days and nobody was allowed to get in touch with me.

On April 17 I was brought to meet Lieut. Col. Lubis and asked to sign a warrant for my arrest and detention. I signed the warrant consciously because I wanted to communicate with the outside world immediately to expose what I and other activists had experienced.

On April 23 I finally met with my family.

After being detained at the Police Headquarters for six days, I was transferred to the Jakarta Police Station. Again, I experienced inhumane treatment. My rights were denied. For example, I and the other PRD activists who were arrested before me were isolated from each other. Other detainees were able to be in one cell together but we were separated from each other. We were not allowed to join calisthenics. However, I did not make a fuss over such discrimination because amid this stream of mental and physical torture I heard that the development of the movement outside was promising. People were already joining the struggle.

I do hope that there will be a thorough investigation on this kidnapping case so that we know who conducted it and who is responsible for it. I hope that the investigation on this kidnapping case will reveal the mystery of the disappearances in other cases, such as Tanjung Priok, Santa Cruz, Lampung and July 27, 1996. I saw that ABRI began to feel cornered because people knew that it was behind this kidnapping. Judging from the way the working mechanism and the weapons they used, it is impossible that thiskidnapping was conducted by ordinary people.

I hope that this case will not repeat itself. I do not want the activists to stop fighting because of this kidnapping. There are two ways to avoid kidnapping. First, campaign over this case and pressure the regime not to do it anymore. Second, the society, campuses and factories have to establish their own security systems, because this will minimize the military's opportunity to make illegal abductions. A cornered regime will use illegal means to muzzle a movement.

I trust that students, fellow pro-democracy activists and other groups who are still fighting will not be afraid because of what happened to us. I, myself, Pius, Desmond, Waluyo Jati, Faisal Reza and other friends should become an inspiration for the movement to keep moving forward and to be vigilant. Prepare the infrastructure to minimize the chances of illegal arrests!

Long Live Democracy !

Greater Jakarta Police Station


Andi Arief Chairperson of SMID


Europe Office
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Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 10:51:01 +0200 (MET DST)

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