A human rights group on Tuesday expressed support for the National Police and its anti-terror unit in the ongoing fight against extremism, but also called on it to be legally accountable.
Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said it protested the arbitrary nature of recent raids against suspected terrorists in several areas of the country.
“Kontras strongly protests the actions of personnel of the National Police’s anti-terror special unit, Densus 88, in a series of actions against terrorists in Solo and several other regions in Indonesia,” Kontras said in a statement on Tuesday.
The organization said the operations have been ongoing for three months. Kontras acknowledged Densus 88’s success in apprehending several terror suspects in a short time, but accused the police agency of not playing by the rules.
“This is proven by the arrests of wrong people, combined with actions to immobilize civilians,” the group said. “Actions like these have the potential to prompt more terrorism and are counterproductive to the aims of Densus 88 in fighting terrorism.”
It cited the mistaken arrest of Muarifin in July and of Dul Rahman on Saturday. It also pointed to the assault in August of Wiji Suwito, the father-in-law of Solo terror suspect Bayu Setiono.
Kontras said those cases showed that the Densus 88 personnel do not always act according to the rules set by the National Police last year relating specifically to its handling of terror suspects.
The rules, the group said, require a thorough analysis of the suspect and the situation to be made before any raid. Arrests should also abide by the principles of caution and taking into account the safety risks involved.
“Therefore we ask the National Commission on Human Rights [Komnas HAM] and the ombudsman to look at the problem of violence in anti-terrorism operations, conduct a joint investigation and provide corrective actions for the police, especially Densus 88,” Kontras said.
Meanwhile, police have released two of the 11 terrorism suspects arrested in recent sweeps in Central Java and West Kalimantan because the law enforcement officers could not find enough evidence to charge them with terrorism.
The two arrested men were Nopem Biarso and Indra Fitrianto. They were released on Monday.
Weekend raids uncovered apparent preparations for the production of bombs.