News / Asia

Indonesian Torture Victim Disputes New Claim of Innocence

FILE - Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto
FILE - Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto
Andy Lala
A man who says he was a victim of torture during the regime of former Indonesian president Suharto is disputing a revelation from a former general that casts blame away from current presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

Mugiyanto says in an interview with the VOA's Indonesian service Wednesday that the statement by former major general Kivlan Zen does not exonerate Prabowo, who is running for president this year.

“Prabowo said that he kidnapped or arrested nine people, including me.  According to me this [action] is contrary to sound and humane thinking. Prabowo who at that time was head of the Kopassus [special forces] and the Rose Team did not take us into protective custody.  Prabowo interrogated and tortured us inhumanely.  We were put in a situation where there was practically no boundary between living or dying.  No one would have intervened if we were killed at that time," said Mugiyanto.

Mugiyanto was one of nine student activists who were released in 1998 after being tortured, allegedly by members of a military special forces unit known as the Rose Team, which fell under the command of then - Lieutenant General Prabowo.  Thirteen others who were detained by the unit have never been found.

But former general Kivlan Zen this week caused a stir when he said the 13 missing were killed by a different group.

"Soon after [they were freed by the Rose Team], they were rearrested unbeknownst to us.  They could have been captured by double agents.  They may be the enemies of [former president] Suharto and Prabowo," said Zen.

He did not provide further details, but said he is prepared to testify before the National Commission for Human Rights, known as Komnas HAM, or the attorney general's office.

Human rights groups, while casting doubt on the claim, are urging Komnas HAM and the attorney general to summon Kivlan Zen for questioning.

Haris Azhar, from the Commission for Mission People and Violent Acts, says it is vital for Komnas HAM and the attorney general to pursue justice.  

“It is important for the attorney general’s office and the National Commission of Human Rights to come to an agreement to reach a solution. It would be ridiculous for those two institutions would to be involved in administrative legalese and ignored the rights of the victims.  If by the start of the [presidential] elections these two bodies still fail to take actions, then we can say that they are part of the forced disappearances," said Azhar.

However, Komnas HAM Commissioner Nurkholis says that his agency considers its investigation final and that it is now in the hands of the attorney general's office, which has not commented on the new allegations.

Prabowo, who is considered a leading candidate for president this year, was removed from his military post in 1998 after a council of generals found it likely that he knew about the kidnapping operations conducted by his special forces troops, known as Kopassus, in Indonesia.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid