Thu, 30 Mar 2000

Police name 13 suspects in July 27 case

BOGOR (JP): The National Police have named 13 suspects, five of whom have been detained, in the July 27, 1996, bloody takeover of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters, an official said on Wednesday.

"Police have questioned 70 people in connection with the PDI headquarter's takeover.

"We have concluded 13 of them are suspects, five of whom have been detained," National Police's general crime detective chief Brig. Gen. Engkesman Rangkeong Hillep said after the closing of a nationwide detectives technical meeting, attended by 110 officers in Cisarua, Bogor.

Engkesman, who spoke to reporters after being given approval by National Police chief Lt. Gen. Rusdihardjo, said the probe included the questioning of 13 police officer as eyewitnesses to the incident.

Earlier Rusdihardjo, who closed the session, said "it is time for the police to stand up for the truth and function purely as investigators".

"In the past, it was impossible to investigate the July 27 case, or even to arrest or touch a figure like Bob Hasan," the three-star general said, referring to the country's timber tycoon who is being questioned in an US$87 million corruption scandal.

The National Police chief has already questioned three generals and two colonels in connection with the investigation into the July 27 melee.

The top police brass questioned include former National Police chief Gen. Dibyo Widodo, former Central Jakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Aboebakar Nataprawira, former Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Hamami Nata, former chief of the city police operational control Col. John Lallo and former city police chief of detectives Col. Paimin.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas) announced in September 1996 that five people died, 149 were injured and 23 were still missing in the July 27 riots, which broke out immediately after the party's headquarters were taken over.

Detective work

Rusdihardjo urged detectives to improve their performances and "not to bow to superior's orders just to please them and twist the truth".

"Detective work is the core business of the police. If you fail to do so ... if you screw up a case or fail to take firm action against criminals, you will lose the people's trust."

Of a total of 14,000 detectives throughout the country, only 13,000 of them are able to conduct proper investigations, he said. "In several regions, only 25 percent of the total detective personnel are able to perform their duties. The main problem is the quality of human resources," Rusdihardjo said.

He also reminded his subordinates to stick to the code of ethics and rules when performing their duties.

"If we want to move forward, this is the time. Do not be afraid because as investigators we are independent," the general said.

"I don't want detectives to be played around with, having to take orders from provincial or district police chiefs. Enough is enough. We have been bullied for over 32 years."

Rusdihardjo also said that he had instructed chiefs of all provincial police headquarters to arrest and prosecute business speculators, who have allegedly stored kerosene in their warehouses, pending the government's announcement on oil prices hike. (21/ylt/edt)