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Presidential Security Force member’s arrest for abduction and murder sends shockwaves through Indonesia

Indonesian military personnel, including a member of the Indonesian Presidential Security Force (Paspampres), have been apprehended on suspicion of being involved in the abduction and death of a 25-year-old young man.

This deeply unsettling case has sent shockwaves across the nation, prompting political leaders to voice their profound concern over the betrayal of trust in a role dedicated to safeguarding the nation’s head of state.

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INDONESIA: In a deeply disturbing incident, three members of the Indonesian military, including high-ranking officers, have been apprehended by the Jakarta Military Police (Pomdam Jaya) on suspicion of their involvement in the abduction and subsequent death of 25-year-old Imam Masykur from Aceh.

The primary suspect, identified as Praka RM, a member of the Presidential Security Force (Paspampres), and two other accomplices have also been captured by Pomdam Jaya in connection with the case.

Speaking to Detikcom on Monday (28 Aug), Colonel (Military Police Corp) Irsyad Hamdie Bey Anwar, the Commander of the Military Police of the Jakarta Military Area Command (Danpomdam Jaya), disclosed that the other suspects are Head Soldier (Praka) HS, affiliated with the Army’s Directorate of Topography, and Head Soldier (Praka)J from the Iskandar Muda Regional Military Command (Kodam) in Aceh.

Colonel (Military Police Corp) Irsyad Hamdie Bey Anwar, the Commander of the Military Police of the Jakarta Military Area Command (Danpomdam Jaya).

Tragic abduction and ransom case ends in fatality

Colonel Irsyad outlined that all three perpetrators posed as police officers during the incident.

Their actions included recording the abduction and assault of Imam Masykur. The suspects allegedly apprehended Masykur under the pretence of arresting him for his suspected involvement in illegal drug trading (Tramadol, etc.).

The young man was abducted from a store in South Tangerang Selatan on Saturday (12 Aug).

Following the abduction, the trio reportedly demanded a ransom of Rp 50 million (approximately US$3,276) from the victim’s family, claiming it was to avoid legal consequences related to the illicit drug trade.

Anwar added, “After the abduction, he was taken, and a sum of money was extorted from him.”

The assailants subsequently reached out to Imam Masykur’s family to demand a ransom. The violence inflicted on him is believed to have been driven by a desire for financial gain.

Regrettably, the culmination of these events resulted in the death of the victim, stemming from the severe injuries inflicted by the perpetrators. In a distressing twist, Masykur’s body was discarded in a river in Purwakarta, West Java.

Subsequently, his lifeless body was found floating in the Cibogo River in Karawang, West Java, on Friday (18 Aug).

TNI commander vows justice

Admiral (Laksda) Julius Widjojono, the Chief of the TNI Information Center (Kapuspen TNI), conveyed the concern of TNI Commander Admiral Yudo Margono regarding the case of violence against Imam Masykur.

Admiral Yudo has pledged to oversee the case until the perpetrators face significant penalties.

In addition, he has instructed that Head Soldier (Praka) RM, the Paspampres member implicated in the incident, be dismissed from the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI).

Speaking via a brief message to Kompas.com on Monday (28 Aug), Julius said, “The TNI Commander is concerned and will ensure that the perpetrators face the maximum punishment of death or at least a lifetime sentence.”

He continued, “And they will definitely be dismissed from the TNI because this constitutes a serious crime, involving planning for murder. That is the TNI Commander’s instruction.”

However, Julius noted that the suspects involved in the homicide with torture are currently being handled by the Jakarta Military Police of the Jakarta Military Area Command (Pomdam Kodam Jayakarta).

The Indonesian House of Representatives demands accountability in case involving President’s security force member

In response to this incident, the Chairperson of Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), Meutya Hafid, strongly condemned the actions of Praka RM, the Paspampres member.

Meutya described Praka RM’s conduct as terrifying, particularly for someone entrusted with the role of protecting the President.

Meutya has called for a transparent examination of the suspect by the TNI and urged Pomdam Jaya to honestly report the findings of the questioning process.

Meutya Hafid, the Chairperson of Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR).

Enhanced selection urged for President’s security detail following incident

Meutya conveyed her perspective, “For the perpetrator, a Paspampres member who is suspected of committing fatal violence, it is necessary to conduct a transparent investigation. Pomdam Jaya must honestly and transparently report the results of the investigation,” she stated during a conversation on Sunday (27 Aug).

Meutya expressed her alarm at Praka RM’s actions, questioning how a soldier with murderous tendencies could pass the selection process for Paspampres.

“It is frightening to hear this news. If it is true, it means that there is a killer who managed to pass through Paspampres,” she remarked.

As a result, she has called for a more stringent selection process for Paspampres recruits, emphasizing the need to learn from the series of incidents involving Paspampres personnel.

Meutya argued that given Paspampres’ close proximity to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), the selection of its members should be highly selective and rigorous.

“The selection process to become a member of Paspampres needs to be tightened. Soldiers who have close access to the President must be the best and the most qualified. Especially since there have been incidents involving Paspampres members in the past, the recruitment system needs to be tightened,” she advised.

Separately, Vice Chairperson of Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Teuku Riefky Harsya (TRH), strongly condemned the brutal act that resulted in the death of a resident from Bireuen, Aceh, in Jakarta, allegedly perpetrated by TNI personnel.

“We condemn the heinous act against Imam Masykur, a resident of Bireuen. This criminal act must be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators must be heavily punished,” stated Teuku Riefky Harsya, speaking from Banda Aceh on Sunday (27 Aug), as quoted by ANTARA.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Isnur, Chairperson of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), assessed that the case of a civilian being subjected to fatal violence by military personnel adds to a growing list of instances of violence committed by the military.

“This YLBHI record adds to the increasing violence, abuse of power, and brutality exhibited by the TNI or the military apparatus,” said Isnur to Kompas.com on Monday (2 Aug). ”

According to Isnur, the incident of fatal violence further illustrates the perilous situation within the TNI.

He firmly believes that similar incidents should not recur. In his opinion, the abundance of such events is a result of a culture of impunity that prevails in many places.

“So, this incident further underscores the importance of military justice reform, given the lack of discipline. There needs to be a comprehensive evaluation of law enforcement within the military,” he expressed.

“We must not let this reflect an extraordinary level of arrogance and the courage to violate the law because they wear a uniform. Certainly, the TNI Commander and the Ministry of Defense should focus on cultivating professionalism among soldiers, fostering obedience to the law and human rights,” he concluded.

As pressure mounts for the alleged TNI personnel involved in Masykur’s murder to be tried in civilian court, the TNI has announced that the three individuals will be subject to sanctions under both military law and civilian law.

“The sanctions are criminal and military,” affirmed Colonel Irsyad Hamdie Bey Anwar.

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