Thu, 05 Oct 2000

Most JSX bombing suspects likely to be freed: PHBI

JAKARTA (JP): Coordinator of the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) Hendardi said on Wednesday that the police were likely to soon release most of the suspects in the bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) building.

Hendardi said that the 22 suspects arrested from the Krung Motor Baru auto repair shop in Ciganjur, South Jakarta, would be released for lack of evidence.

"I think the police will not be able to detain those men too long without sufficient evidence," Hendardi told reporters during a meeting with families of six of the 22 suspects.

In addition to the 22 suspects arrested from a workshop located about 200 meters from President Abdurrahman Wahid's residence, police also arrested several men in Jakarta and in Bandung, West Java, including two soldiers.

Police said the people were linked to the Sept. 13 fatal bombing which killed 11 people, injured dozens, and damaged some 200 vehicles. PBHI officially represents eleven of the 22 suspects arrested at the workshop.

PBHI would not accept evidence the police claimed to have collected from the suspects' residences since the searches had been conducted unlawfully.

"The police never had a warrant to conduct a search. We told them but they kept doing it over and over again," Hendardi said.

PBHI expressed suspicions on Monday that the police were trying to frame the suspects using fabricated evidence.

On Tuesday, former National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dadang Garnida said that police had found Free Aceh Movement (GAM) flags at the residences of some of the suspects but did not name the suspects.

The evidence showed that the separatist group was involved in the bombing, Dadang said, referring to a discovery earlier that the money used by the bombers was linked to marijuana dealers from Aceh.

PBHI has claimed that the police had no preliminary evidence when they arrested the suspects at the workshop. The police even arrested several men who had come to the workshop to have their cars repaired.


Twenty-nine-year-old Maini, the wife of Tabrani, one of the suspects arrested at the workshop, said that her husband, a 35- year-old driver, was at the workshop to fix his boss' minivan on the day he was arrested.

"There was something wrong with the van and a friend of his suggested that he take the car to the repair station. Getting approval from his boss, he went there. Then he was arrested," Maini said.

"They said the bombers were from GAM. My husband is not even Acehnese. He is from Padang (West Sumatra)," Maini said.

"I don't have any business with other suspects. If they are found guilty, then punish them. But my husband knows nothing about the bombing. They should release him."

Maini said she came to the Jakarta Police headquarters to see her husband on Monday but the police allowed her only to speak with him by phone.

Teti Herawati, 30, wife of suspect M. Saleh Daud, said that her husband was only a public transport driver who stopped at the workshop for lunch.

"There was a food stall. He went inside to eat, then he was arrested," Teti said.

Four other wives admitted that they and their husbands had come from Aceh and attended religious gatherings at the workshop several times with other Acehnese.

"We come from Aceh and are interested to attend religious gatherings where other Aceh people attend. So what?" Fatimah, 22, wife of suspect M. Rizal Abdullah said. (jaw)