Evidence of Premeditation found in Cebongan Prison Attack

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  • Members of the Indonesian Armed Forces examining the evidence that will be used in the Cebongan Penitentiary attack trial. ANTARA/Sigid Kurniawan.

    Members of the Indonesian Armed Forces examining the evidence that will be used in the Cebongan Penitentiary attack trial. ANTARA/Sigid Kurniawan.

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinator for the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Haris Azhar, said that he found evidence that the case of the Cebongan Penitentiary in Sleman, Yogyakarta, was a premeditated attack. The evidence also indicates that the local police and Indonesian Armed Forces high-ranking officials did nothing to prevent the tragedy. 

    Kontras discovered evidence of a text message sent by a police officer to one of the Cebongan attack victims before the incident. The text message read: 

    "I just received a bbm (Blackberry Messenger text) from a colleague: FYI, our fellow Kopassus (Army’s Special Forces) colleagues riding five trucks wearing street clothes are currently in Yogyakarta for the death of the Kopassus member at Hugos Cafe yesterday. There are instructions for the Kopassus team to perform their duty. (this is a leaked text message from one of the Kopassus soldiers heading for Yogyakarta).” 

    Haris said the text message was received by the victim on Friday, March 22, at 20.58 Western Indonesia Time. He said this text message was also delivered to the family of the victim. 

    Kontras also discovered a text message that was delivered to the mobile phones of the internal police on March 22 at 18.52 local time that read: 

    "Info from the Yogyakarta Police Sector Deputy Chief (Waka Polresta yka.), 3 Kopassus platoons are already in DY (Yogyakarta). Please be alert and please note this text message is only for us, 86, 87, neat colleagues, brown uniformed corps, the act may take place on Saturday night because I love you all." 

    The text message was in code, with 86 meaning "to be understood" and 87 meaning "to be delivered to others". 

    Kontras also found evidence that indicated the Yogyakarta Chief of Police and the local high-ranking military officials had knowledge that the incident was about to take place and did nothing to prevent it. Haris said that before the Cebongan incident occurred, the local police and the Military Command high-ranking officials held a meeting to discuss the murder at Hugo’s Cafe and information about the arrival of Kopassus soldiers at the Police Headquarters on March 19. 

    "Other indications of premeditation could also be seen. The weapons used were military issued weapons, which were described as an AK-47s in the explanation released by the Military Police Detachment (Denpom AD)," said Haris. "Also the deliberate transfer of the four prisoners to the class II Cebongan Penitentiary by the police or the deliberate placement (of the prisoners) away from the police. These indications must be included in the prosecution." 

    Based on the evidence, Haris urges prosecutors to drag the Yogyakarta Police Chief and Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) high-ranking officials to court and charge them with being accessories to the crime. Haris explained that although they did not give direct orders on the Cebongan attack, they made no preventive measures and let the attack happen. 

    The Cebongan Penitentiary attack occurred on Saturday, March 23, earlier this year. The Indonesian Army’s (TNI AD) investigation team revealed 12 members of the Kopassus Group 2 in Kartasuro, Central Java, to be the perpetrators. One of these soldiers, with the initial U, was said to be the executor. 

    U was accused of killing four prisoners transferred to the prison by the Yogyakarta Police Department. These four prisoners were police officers suspected of murdering Kopassus solider First Sergeant Heru Santoso at Hugo’s Cafe in Sleman on Tuesday, March 19. 

    The Yogyakarta Military Court held the first trial for this case earlier today. Haris added that Kontras would monitor the proceedings of the trial.