Ulma Haryanto | February 07, 2012
Despite international and domestic appeals to the government to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of Ahmadiyah followers in Cikeusik, Banten province, the violence remains unresolved one year later.
Human rights activists and Ahmadiyah followers marked Monday, a year after the brutal attack, with questions as to why the government had been so slow in processing the case.
Three members of the minority Muslim sect died in the attack, five were badly injured and gruesome footage of the event was uploaded to YouTube.
“This isn’t over. The state is still responsible to resolve the issue,” said Zainal Abidin, deputy director of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam).
Aside from the 25 Ahmadis displaced from Cikeusik, hundreds more were forced to flee hometowns for fear of their safety.
Indonesia’s Human Rights Working Group said on Sunday that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, had sent a letter to the government raising concerns over its handling of the attack.
Zainal said not all of the perpetrators had been brought to justice, including the murderers and police officers who “watched” as Ahmadis were slaughtered.
Of more than 1,000 people who took part in the mob attack, only 12 were eventually convicted of crimes. They also received lenient sentences of three to five and a half months in prison.
One of the Ahmadis, who almost lost his hand in the incident, was even convicted of provoking the attack and sentenced to six months in prison.
Muhammad Isnur of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) said police had named three Cikeusik Police officers as suspects, charged with causing loss of life through negligence.
“They are Chief Brig. T.B. Ade Sumardi, Second Brig. Ahyudin Kasaputra and Chief Brig. Subandri Sutiana,” Isnur said.
He said the officers were seen in the video footage standing idly by and smoking while mobs beat the lifeless bodies of the three Ahmadis.
“The last we heard was that in mid-October, the Banten prosecutor’s office returned their dossiers to Banten Police due to incomplete procedure,” Isnur said.
“It is still unclear why it hasn’t been brought to trial yet. Is it because there is no demand from the public?”
Bebi, one of the survivors, said he was disappointed that police in the field did not do anything when the group was attacked.
“I saw it with my own eyes. When the mob arrived, [the police] were gone. Before, there were two of the police’s control units there,” he said.
“They didn’t even attempt to stop the mob. I can’t help but wonder whether the police were involved.”
Isnur said the government and the people should not forget the tragedy in Cikeusik.
Ahmadis across the archipelago have faced attacks from militant groups, and in more than one instance they have been forced to flee their homes.
“There are 200 displaced Ahmadis in Lombok and 15 in Tasikmalaya [West Java]. But there are also those who moved in smaller numbers and are harder to trace,” said Firdaus Mubarik, a spokesman for the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI).