Mon, 02 Jun 2003

Suspects named in Kontras attack

A'an Suryana, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Three suspects have been named in the attack on the office of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), city police spokesman Sr. Comr. Prasetyo said over the weekend.

The three suspects, members of nationalistic and pro-military youth group Pemuda Panca Marga (PPM), were charged after police questioned 15 witnesses and collected sufficient evidence, said Prasetyo.

He declined to reveal the suspects' names, saying that the police were still investigating the case. The three men are being held at the Central Jakarta Police station.

"The number of suspects and witnesses could increase, depending on how the investigation unfolds," Prasetyo said after taking part on Saturday in a discussion on violence, particularly against the Kontras office.

Prasetyo said the three suspects denied that the attacks had been deliberately planned, saying that they became angry after they could not find Munir, the former chairman of Kontras who is known to be outspoken and critical of the military and the government.

Meanwhile, Kontras coordinator Ori Rachman demanded that the city police focus the probe on finding the masterminds behind the attack.

"Capturing the masterminds would be the most effective way to prevent similar attacks from happening again," said Ori after the discussion.

Kontras, which has been critical of the military and the government, has been the target of attacks since 2000, when a grenade exploded in front of the Kontras office in Central Jakarta. This was followed by a string of other attacks, including one by a mob in 2002, in which office furniture and files were destroyed.

The latest attack occurred last Tuesday, when about 100 members of the PPM, clad in military fatigues, attacked the office and assaulted five staff members for voicing criticisms against the war in Aceh.