Activists describe kidnapping, torture

Wednesday, May 6, 1998

Activists describe kidnapping, torture

By James Balowski

"I speak up with the knowledge that I am risking my life", said Indonesian activist Pius Lustrilanang, in testimony before the National Human Rights Commission on April 27, were he described how he was abducted, detained and tortured.

Pius, the secretary general of the Alliance for People's Democracy and Indonesian Solidarity for Amien Rais and Megawati, disappeared on February 3. Four other activist have also "reappeared", although most have refused to speak publicly about their experiences.

On April 14, the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) said that as many as 50 people have disappeared since January.

Although Pius did not directly say who kidnapped him, he said, "The Indonesian armed forces should take responsibility for this".

Pius said he was interrogated about his political activities and other activists. When the interrogators were dissatisfied with his answers, he was kicked, punched and given electric shocks. On occasion he was stripped naked, put in a tub of water and his head forced under.

Pius said that he spoke with six other activists who have disappeared recently.

Upon his release he was told to say that he had been in hiding, and threatened that "if I tell the truth about my experiences ... they will execute me". They also suggested he say that he was abducted by the PRD.

Immediately after the hearing, Pius left for Amsterdam. Human rights lawyer Hendardi said he had fled the country because he feared for his safety.

Andi Arief, chairperson of Student Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy, who "reappeared" in police custody on April 17, also said that he was abducted by the military.

An April 29 report by the independent news service SiaR said a source at the armed forces headquarters said that a military building on the outskirts of Jakarta was "borrowed" by the intelligence agency BIA to interrogate pro-democracy activists.