Jakarta. The State Intelligence Agency, or BIN, has denied any involvement in the alleged interception of conversations between former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI.
The allegation emerged on Tuesday (31/01) during the trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who is accused of blasphemy by various Muslim groups, including the MUI.
Ahok's legal defense team brought up the allegation after reportedly receiving information of conversations between Ma'ruf and Yudhoyono, who is accused of having intervened in the issuance of an MUI edict in October last year against Ahok over comments he made about a Koranic verse.
In a statement released on Thursday, the agency insisted that it was not the source of the information and that there was no mention of whether the alleged conversation had taken place in person, or on the telephone.
The agency said whatever wiretapping it does conduct only involves its function to maintain the safety, integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, and that such information is neither made public, nor provided to private groups or individuals.
The allegation has drawn complaints from Yudhoyono, who said during a press conference on Wednesday that illegal wiretapping was a serious crime and that someone needs to be prosecuted if that happened. He called on the police to promptly investigate the allegation.
Similar to the BIN's response, the police also said on Thursday that information related to the alleged wiretapping might not be accurate, but that it would proceed with a preliminary investigation into the allegation.
"We'll examine whether it's related to the legal matter or something else," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar told reporters in Jakarta.
The wiretapping allegation comes amid growing concern over rising political tensions ahead of this month's Jakarta gubernatorial election, which Yudhoyono's son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, is contesting against Ahok.
Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly also gave his assurances that the government was not involved in such actions against civilians.