Thursday, March 18, 2010


     Jakarta, March 18, 2010 (ANTARA) - Many parties have applauded the Indonesian police for their most recent successes in fighting terrorists in Tangerang (Banten Provice) and Aceh Province, but some have expressed regrets about the harsh way the police had handled them.
       The Densus-88 anti-terror police shot dead three terror suspects in two separate places in South Tangerang, Banten Province, last March 9, 2010. One of the dead victims was Dulmatin, a most-wanted terror suspect.

        Three days later (March 12), the police had arrested eight and killed two terrorist suspects in a shootout in Aceh Besar.
        National Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri recently said the police had so far arrested at least 38 suspected terrorists including those nabbed in Jakarta while seven of them were killed during operations.
       "I wonder why they always had to shoot them to death. Why weren`t they arrested alive," Chairman of the Indonesian Police Watch (IPW) Presidium Neta S Pane said recently.
       The police should have arrested them alive so that we could hear their testimony at court, Pane said.
        The IPW has urged Indonesian Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri to stop shooting dead terror suspects on the pretext that the suspects resisted or fought back.
       Dulmatin was alone and only carried a revolver, while the number of Densus personnel was quite plenty and well armed. Besides, Dulmatin only had six or at most 12 bullets and it was not an excuse to kill him, there should have been a way to arrest him alive, he said.

Neta also criticized the police for killing two colleagues of Dulmatin while they were riding a bicycle. There was an impression that the Densus personnel immediately shot them even at a slightest move, while the suspects might just have been frightened when they saw police personnel and they had not intended to fight back, he said.

Shooting deaths had also occurred in the past few years when Densus 88 had raided suspected terrorists in Bekasi, Temanggung, and Solo in relation with the bombings of Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, he said.

"With their deaths, the police as well as the public lost the chance to get further information from them in court," he said.

He urged the present police chief to follow the steps of the then police chief Dai Bachtiar who had successfully arrested Amrozi and Iman Samudra alive. Both had been involved in the Bali bombings and were only executed after being sentenced to death by the courts.

The IPW chairman said the strategy of the current Densus personnel could become a bad precedent for the national police and must be stopped before being copied by the intelligence agents.

Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Duski Samad, dean of the faculty of Islamic thinking of Imam Bonjol Islamic University (IAIN) in Padang, West Sumatra Province, said the police`s way of handling terrorists recently had disturbed the public`s sense of justice.

"There are always fatalities, deaths. It happens when terror suspects used short-barrel guns are facing police personnel carrying long-barrel guns. It creates the impression that the police are not professional," he said.

The police should respect the public`s religious sensitivity and sense of justice, Duski, a prominent ulema (Muslim scholar) of West Sumatra Province, said.

As the police personnel were numerous and well armed , it would have been more desirable if they could have arrested rather than killed the terror suspects, he said.

He also considered that the raids as being a show of force and political image building.

Voicing a similar sentiment, a former Indonesian terrorist, Umah Abduh, asked the police to catch terror suspects alive instead of shooting them to death on the spot.

"The police must not follow their killer instinct. They must capture terror suspects alive, not kill them on sight," Umah Abduh said in a public discussion recently.

Umah, who was member of a terrorist group that hijacked a Garuda Indonesia airplane at Bangkok`s Don Muang airport in 1981, criticized the present police`s inclination to terminate terror suspects they were pursuing rather than trying to catch them alive.

"A terrorist should be shot dead only after a court of law has sentenced him or her to death." he said. Present-day police who were equipped with sophisticated gadgets such as GPS should be able to get close to a terrorist`s nest and catch him or her alive without too much difficulty, he added.

However, the National Police`s spokesman, Inspector General Edward Aritonang, refuted Umah Abduh`s view by saying the police had no wish to kill.

He said police always prioritized capturing terror suspects alive.

"We have a doctrine that says capturing a suspect alive is always better. However, if that is not possible, there is no other way but to shoot him or her to death," he said.

Aritonang said conditions in the field were not always as easy as expected. In clashes with police, terror suspects always used weapons such as bombs or guns that could kill or wound police officers.

"We also have to do our best to protect our own personnel from getting shot or wounded," he said.

Head of the National Police`s Criminal Investigation Unit Commissioner General Ito Sumardi recently also denied that the police had executed terror suspects deliberately.

"We did not just shoot. Everything our men did was in line with standing procedures," he said after the closing of the anti-terror Police-Military exercise at Halim Perdanakusuma airforce base, in Jakarta, last March 15.

The police were forced to shoot them to death because the suspects had fought back and threatened the lives of security personnel and local people at the scene, he said.

A human right activist on a domestic television recently said he supported the police for fighting against terrorists but those who were killed on the spot should be considered suspects before proven in court. And therefore, they should have been arrested, instead of shot dead.

Susno Duadji, former chief of the police`s criminal investigation department, on the occasion, said in such a fight, the police were usually in a situation of `to kill or be killed" but he was optimistic that the police would listen to the people`s aspirations.

The Indonesian police had also shot dead Dr. Azahari in a raid in East Java in November 2005, and Noordin M Top, in Solo, Central Java, in September 2009.

Dr Azahari and his associate Noordin Mohammad Top, both Malaysian-born were believed to have masterminded a series of major terrorist acts in Indonesia, including the Bali bombings in 2002, a deadly blast at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004, and bombings in Bali in October 2005 that killed more than 220 people.

(T.F001/A/F001/A/H-YH) 18-03-2010 19:19:46

No comments:

Post a Comment