Sat, 27 Sep 2003

Police release four suspects reportedly linked to terrorism

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Police released on Friday another four people reportedly linked to terrorist activities, deeming their accounts during interrogation thus far sufficient.

Previously the police released four of 17 suspects arrested between August and September for their alleged involvement in plans to launch terror attacks in the capital.

Their status, however, remains unchanged.

Those released on Friday were Suradi, alias Abu Utsman, alias Abu Zaid; Ikhsan Miarso; Bambang Tutuko alias Abu Umar; and Samian, alias Zaid, alias Abdullah. The four released previously were Wagino, Sunarno, Muhaimin Yahya and Solihin, alias Soleh.

"Their (release) papers were signed this morning," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Basyir Barmawi said at National Police Headquarters.

Suradi was picked up for questioning by the police on Sept. 8 in the Central Java city of Surakarta and officially detained on Sept. 14. Ikhsan was picked up on Sept. 8 in the neighboring Surakarta town of Sukoharjo and detained since Sept. 14. Police believe that Suradi and Ikhsan had harbored Bali bombing suspects.

Bambang was picked up on Sept. 14. while Samian was picked up on Aug. 17 and officially detained on Aug. 24.

Police say that investigators have obtained the necessary statements from the suspects and were therefore releasing them.

Police arrested the 17 people for alleged involvement in plans to perpetrate bombings in the capital. A top police detective said that among the bomb targets were the National Police and Jakarta Police headquarters.

The suspects were arrested in separate places in Jakarta, Lampung, Semarang, Surakarta and Karanganyar. The last three were arrested in Central Java.

Police also seized from some of them more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and dozens of kilograms of explosives.

The arrests, however, have increased public concern, mostly on the part of Islamic organizations and human rights activists who have questioned the procedure of the arrests. They claim the arrests were against the suspects' basis rights as the police failed to immediately inform their families of the arrests. They also claim that many of the arrests were made without sufficient evidence.

Meanwhile, National Police deputy spokesman Sr. Comr. Zainuri Lubis said the police may not charge the first four suspects released unless investigators could prove their involvement in the planning of terror attacks.

"The first four terror suspects released earlier may become witnesses if police find no clear proof of involvement," Zainuri said.

Zainuri said the police were not worried about the possibility of the suspects escaping or becoming involved in criminal activities because their identities were clear.

"They have clear and valid identities, homes, families and occupations, which will ensure that they don't repeat their alleged wrongdoings," said Zainuri.