Jakarta. The Indonesian police chief has taken issue with a move by the country’s spy chief to promise amnesty to a militant who turned himself in, saying he must still face justice for a number of murders and other crimes.
Sutiyoso, the head of the State Intelligence Agency, or BIN, personally negotiated the surrender of Nurdin bin Ismail, better known as Din Minimi, who is wanted for attacks on security officials and civilians in Aceh province over the past year. As part of the agreement, Sutiyoso said he had promised Din immunity from prosecution.
However, National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti questioned Sutiyoso’s authority to make such an offer.
“From the perspective of the police, even if [Din] gave himself up he still has to face due legal process,” Badrodin said at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta.
“What right does the BIN chief have to grant him amnesty? What legal basis? The only one with the authority to grant amnesty is the president, and that’s only after [Din] has been tried,” he said.
He added he was not averse to offering Din some kind of leniency in exchange for his cooperation, but that he should still be prosecuted for his litany of alleged crimes.
Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan, the National Police spokesman, said separately that Din was wanted in 14 different cases, ranging from murder to robbery. Din and his gang, a splinter group of the now-disbanded Free Aceh Movement, or GAM, itself a separatist group, are accused of attacking police and military personnel as well as civilians out of a sense of disenfranchisement, having been sidelined from the GAM leadership’s largely peaceful transition to local government in the form of the Aceh Party.
Anton echoed Badrodin’s argument that Din’s surrender should not preclude him from criminal prosecution.
“By that logic, I can commit a robbery and then give myself up in exchange for being set free,” he said. “Is that what you’d like to see?”
Sutiyoso negotiated Din’s surrender late on Monday night, after contacting the militant through relatives and associates, and visiting him at his home in East Aceh district. He claimed that 30 of Din’s men agreed to surrender with him, with another 120 to follow.
According to police, Din’s gang consists of no more than 20 individuals.
Sutiyoso also emphasized that amnesty for Din was part of the deal. He said, “I promised him amnesty after consulting on the matter with the justice minister and Komnas HAM” – the National Commission for Human Rights.
Neither the justice minister nor the rights commission has the authority to grant immunity from prosecution to any individual. That power is reserved by the police and prosecutors, both of which operate independently of the government.