Acehtrend.co – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and the House of Representatives (DPR) have agreed to grant an amnesty to dozens of members of an Acehnese armed group led by Nurdin Ismail aka Din Minimi, despite opposition from law enforcement and defense institutions.
The National Police and Indonesian Military (TNI) argue that only those who already have clear legal status will be eligible for the presidential amnesty, stressing that all citizens must abide by the law, which obliges all criminals to undergo due process of law.
National Police Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) head Comr. Gen. Ari Dono Sukmanto said the President should grant the amnesty carefully. According to Law No. 11/1954 on amnesties, the amnesty would entail freeing or pardoning criminals, mostly political convicts.
Police data show that of a total 162 Din Minimi followers, 23 of whom have been convicted and are currently behind bars, 37 are on the police’s wanted list (DPO) but have been named suspects, while the other 102 still have unclear legal status.
“The groups of 23 and 37 people may deserve the amnesty, but we suggest that the 102 undergo a legal process first. After the process, the amnesty may be available,” Ari said.
The TNI, represented by Maj. Gen. M. Setyo Sularso, expressed reluctance to pardon Din Minimi and his followers because they had killed military personnel.
“TNI chief [Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo] said all soldiers were his children, so they [who killed soldiers] should face the legal process. After that, it’s up to the President to decide what to do with them,” Setyo said.
National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Sutiyoso, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan and Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly have agreed to grant amnesty to members of the armed group.
Luhut said the amnesty was aimed at showing the international community that Indonesia could take a soft approach to rebels and respect human rights.
“Other countries see us as too harsh in terms of our legal process, so we need to show that we also respect humanity,” Luhut said.
However, he provided different data to the police. He referred to BIN data showing that 70 members had surrendered, 49 of whom have no legal status but have reintegrated into society and live in peace with people, while 21 others have been convicted.
Luhut plans to grant amnesty to the 49 and drop the charges against the other 21 people. “An amnesty was one of the conditions of their surrender,” he added.
Sutiyoso said that most of the members were teenagers under 20 years old, and the oldest was 37.
“The group are not separatists. They only offended the Aceh administration and are not ex-GAM [Free Aceh Movement] combatants who received amnesty during Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono era,” he said. “Moreover, since they are still young, we should consider their futures.”
Almost all factions at the House agree that the government can grant the amnesty only to those who have clear legal status.
“Granting an amnesty is the President’s prerogative, but we want the legal process first. If we talk about humanity, the way they killed people, particularly soldiers, also violated human rights,” said Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Junimart Girsang.
It is only the Golkar Party that advocates providing the amnesty without considering the legal process. Golkar lawmaker Aziz Syamsuddin said that for the sake of public security, the government should put aside the legal process and grant the amnesty.