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TNI Intelligence Officer Faces 5 Years in Brutal Assault on Journalist


Banda Aceh. An Indonesian military tribunal on Monday began the trial of a former intelligence officer who allegedly attacked a journalist and threatened to kill him and his family in Aceh.
Military prosecutor Maj. Jamingun told the Iskandar Muda tribunal hearing that First Lt. Faizal Amin was facing charges that carried a maximum of five years in prison for the attack on Ahmadi, a reporter for Harian Aceh.
Jamingun said the defendant had been indicted for inflicting a grievous assault on the victim as well as property damage in May.
The defendant allegedly kicked and punched Ahmadi before threatening to kill him and his family if he continued to report on the role the Indonesian Armed Forces [TNI] played in illegal logging in Simeulue.
“He has been removed from his post within the military intelligence division for the actions he took against Ahmadi in May,” Jamingun told the hearing, which was presided over by Judge CHK Waluyo.
Ahmadi, who was working at Sinabang in Simeulue, discovered illegally felled timber in the mountainous region of Seraton, the prosecutor said.
“According to the interviews he conducted in the area, the logs belonged to a military official,” Jamingun said.
Ahmadi sought to clarify the issue with the military command in Simeulue district.
He was informed that the commander was unavailable and was instead pointed in the direction of Faizal, Jamingun said.
“Ahmadi met with Faizal, who requested he not report on the matter because it was going to be dealt with internally by the military,” Jamingun said.
“But Ahmadi insisted on reporting on the case.”
“Faizal told Ahmadi that if he did report on the case, then he was not to mention the TNI in the story,” Jamingun said, reading from the indictment.
“The victim promised the defendant that he would not link the illegal logging to the TNI.”
“However, a story turned up on page nine of Harian Aceh in May this year linking a military official to illegal logging activities in Simeulue,” Jamingun said.
He said that upon learning of the coverage, Faizal instructed his men to look for Ahmadi.
When Ahmadi was found, he was allegedly dragged to the district military command’s shooting range.
“His laptop bag was taken and thrown on the street; his cellular phone was dumped in a ditch. He was then slapped, punched and kicked by the defendant,” the prosecutor said.
“The defendant then took out his gun and fired it twice in the air, near the left and right shoulders of the victim.
This man can no longer be trusted to responsibly use state [weapons],” Jamingun added.
Following Monday’s hearing, Ahmadi told reporters: “I was terrified. [Faizal] even threatened to finish off my entire family.”
The trial was adjourned until Thursday to hear witness testimonies.
In an unrelated development, journalists in Maluku united under the Maluku Media Center were due to meet with the regional police chief today, following the suspicious death of Alfrets Mirulewan, editor in chief of Pelangi Weekly in the province.
Alfrets was found dead on Friday morning after being missing for three days. Prior to his death, the editor had been working on an investigative report on illegal gasoline trading on Kisar Island.
Insany Syahbarwaty, coordinator of the Maluku Media Center, said on Monday that regional lawmakers in Maluku had agreed to facilitate the meeting after a rally held by the journalists in Ambon.
“We also asked them to put pressure on the police chief to seriously probe Alfrets’s death and form a special committee to investigate the illegal trading of gasoline in Maluku,” she said.
However, Maluku Police Chief Brig. Gen. Syarif Gunawan said he was not aware of the meeting. He added that he had already asked the journalists to meet him on Saturday morning but they had refused. 
Insany said that following the death of Alfrets, the journalists had urged lawmakers to demand police provide protection for two of their colleagues in hiding on Kisar Island.
One of the pair is Leksi Kikilay, from the Lensa Maluku tabloid, who had been working with Alfrets on the investigative report. 
Syarief said the local police in Kisar Island have questioned 16 witnesses in relation to the discovery of Alfrets’s body, but he could not yet disclose further details in the case. []
TNI Intelligence Officer Faces 5 Years in Brutal Assault on Journalist TNI Intelligence Officer Faces 5 Years in Brutal Assault on Journalist Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on December 20, 2010 Rating: 5

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