August 29, 2023
JAKARTA – Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Adm. Yudo Margono has demanded that three soldiers, including one member of the Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) accused of torturing and murdering a civilian in South Jakarta be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Yudo said that he had no problem with the soldiers being handed life sentences and if necessary the death penalty.
“With regard to the assault that led to the death of the victim and was alleged to have been committed by members of the Paspampres, the TNI commander has expressed concern and he has called for severe punishment. The maximum punishment should be the death penalty, at the very least, life in prison,” TNI spokesperson Rear Adm. Julius Widjojono was quoted by Antara as saying.
Julius also said that the three soldiers would certainly be dismissed from the corps if they were found guilty by a court martial.
Three TNI personnel were arrested over the weekend for the alleged abduction and murder of an Aceh native identified as Imam Masykur, a shopkeeper in Rempoa, South Jakarta.
The three soldiers allegedly abducted Imam and demanded a ransom of Rp 50 million (US$3,270) from the victim’s family over the weekend.
An audio and video recording of Imam calling his parents asking for the ransom money has made the rounds on social media, prompting widespread outrage.
Members of Imam’s family filed a report with the Jakarta Police on Saturday, shortly after receiving the call.
Upon receiving the report, the Jakarta Military Police (Pomdam Jaya) moved to arrest three suspects in the case, identified only as RM and O and another soldier, whose initials have not been released. RM is a member of Paspampres while O is stationed at the Iskandar Muda Military Command in Aceh. The unidentified soldier is a staff member of the TNI topography division.
Human rights group Amnesty International Indonesia (AII) condemned the alleged kidnapping incident, and called for a speedy investigation of the case.
“We want a speedy and fair probe into the incident, so that we can be assured that human rights abuse will not be tolerated,” AII executive director Usman Hamid told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Usman said the case served as an indication that inhumane treatment of civilians by members of the state apparatus remains a fact of life in Indonesia.
Data from AII show that between June 2019 and June 2023, there were at least 105 such abuse cases involving 171 victims.
Seventy-seven cases involved police personnel, 15 cases TNI members and seven cases other government workers, AII records show.