PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 21/42/98
UA 134/98 Possible “disappearance” / Fear for safety 29 April 1998
INDONESIACut Sari, aged around 54 [f]
M. Hasyim, aged around 50
There are fears that both Cut Sari and M Hasyim, who have recently “disappeared”,
are being held in secret military custody in Aceh province and that their safety
could be at grave risk.
Cut Sari -- whose full name may be Cut Sariwati Mahmud -- has not been seen
since her arrest from her home in Dayah Lampoh Awe village, Simpang Tiga
Sub-district in Pidie, Aceh, on 12 April 1998. Attempts by her family to trace
her in several major military detention facilities, including a Detention Centre
of the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) called Rumoh Gedong in Glumpang
Tiga, and Rancung Detention Centre in Lhokseumawe, have so far failed. She
is believed to have been arrested for her alleged links to Acehnese
M. Hasyim was abducted from his home in Tumpok Teungoh, Banda Sakti, Lhokseumawe,
North Aceh, on 27 March by four men. The men apparently claimed that they
were police from Police Resort in North Aceh and that they needed him to come
to the police station to see a relative there who had been in a traffic accident.
There has been no news of his whereabouts since.
It is believed that M. Hasyim’s family have reported his “disappearance” to
the police in North Aceh but that they have denied he is in their custody.
There are fears that he is being held in secret military custody. The reason
for M. Hasyim’s arrest is not clear.
Aceh is located at the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Access to the
area for independent human rights monitors and foreign journalists is
restricted. Serious human rights violations including torture,
“disappearances” and extrajudicial executions, occurred during the security
forces quelling of the armed separatist Free Aceh Movement (Aceh Merdeka) from
the late 1980s to 1993. A recently reported resurgence of activities by Aceh
Merdeka had led to clashes with the Indonesian Armed Forces - particularly
in the Pidie region - which have resulted in arrests and trials of those suspected
of involvement with the armed secessionists. Many of those taken into custody
have been held in incommunicado military detention and some are alleged to
have been tortured or ill-treated.
Torture of detainees in both military and police custody is common throughout
Indonesia, in particular when individuals are denied access to their families
and lawyers. Indonesia’s Code of Criminal Procedures provides some protection
of detainees’ rights, including the right to independent legal representation,
but these rights are frequently ignored in practice. Under the code, the
Indonesian Armed Forces have no legal authority to conduct arrests. Those
arrested by the military are therefore placed at a high risk of human rights
violations, including torture and ill-treatment.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Bahasa Indonesia or English or your own language:
- urging the authorities to clarify the whereabouts of Cut Sari and M. Hasyim
following their arrest on 12 April 1998 and 27 March respectively and, if in