Acheh: Betrayal of the principles of democracy and rule of law
SENTRAL INFORMASI REFERENDUM ACEH
ACHEH REFERENDUM INFORMATION CENTER
Alamat : Jln. PT. Panglima Polem No. 13 A Komplek Bp 4 Lama Kp. Laksana, Banda Aceh Telp/Fax : +62-651-24043
THE INDONESIA 2004 ELECTION IN ACHEH
BETRAYAL OF THE PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY AND RULE OF LAW (SIRA No. 12/2003 – PEMILU)
Conducting elections under oppressive situation
The Pemilu (general elections) is one of the democratic celebrations in Indonesia that should be arried out honestly, justly and free from all force and violence in the plan of choosing the country’s leadership every five years. The current Pemilu is to be conducted in all Indonesia, including Acheh, even though Acheh is under Martial Law. Actually, conducting an election under military rule is in itself an illegal act, because the basic principle of Martial Law is the suppression of all civil rights, liberties, and democratic principles, while election is the embodiement of these very rights and principles. Indeed, it is evident that conducting an election under such conditions is against the electoral law of Indonesia itself. But the Indonesian Government (GoI) remains adamant to carry out the Pemilu in Acheh, a province which has been placed under the emergency military administration and which is under a real war condition with grave violence taking place everywhere everyday. The decision to proceed with the holding of the Pemilu in Acheh has been taken despite all the inputs, reccommendations and criticisms from community leaders long before the D-day of the election. It appears that the Government is detertmined not to repeat the fiasco it suffered in the 1999 Pemilu in Acheh when only 3 districts participated and with only 30% voter turn-up. By conducting the election under the present condition, the Government has the capacity to force bigger participation, with the threats that have already been issued by the Acheh Martial Law Administrator, that those who refused to vote will be considered members of the Free Acheh Movement (GAM) who will be arrested.
The Military Apparatus is more prepared now to make the Pemilu in Acheh a Success than the Electoral Commission (KPU) itself.
According to the Indonesian Governor for Acheh, Abdullah Puteh, “not less than 52 districts including those prone to Free Acheh Movement (GAM)’s attacks” will participate in the elections, while according to the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) Operations Coordination Commander, Brig. Gen. George Toisutta, “the Pemilu is ready to be conducted throughout Acheh”. Admitting that 12 districts are dysfunctional, he nevertheless was convinced that the election could be carried out in Acheh because the military is in complete control of the province.
Passing through the main roads in Lhokseumawe and its surrounding, it is diffifult to hide the emergency situation and the military law rule, as almost every 15 minutes one will encounter military trucks. It is indeed such control that forms the basis of the conviction of the Lhokseumawe KPU chief, Nazaruddin Ibrahim, who said that the “Pemilu is ready to be carried out in Acheh”. This statement was supported by the Lhokseumawe TNI district commander, Lt. Col. Tatang Sulaiman. According to Tatang his men will be ready at all electoral booths (TPS), and that the sites will be divided into categories of “dangerous, dangerous 1, and dangerous 2”. (Media Indonesia, April 4, 2004 edition/p.8)
Breaching of Promises and People’s Trust by the Political Elit
Although it is clear that the Pemilu in Acheh will not run as it should be, several political parties have already announced the distribution of DPRD (local legislative assembly) chairs to their supporters, on behalves of the Achehnese people for whose rights that they also made pledges to fight for. But what has already happened even before the election takes place, is the reality that they are already breaking their promises and the trust that the people of Acheh they claimed to have received in the last elections. Promises such as: to fight for a peaceful solution of the Acheh conflict, to fight for the holding of referendum in Acheh.
Pemilu Cannot Solve the Acheh Conflict
Cosidering the situation today as described above, it is evident that the majority of the Achehnese people are aware that Pemilu does not bring any change and that it cannot solve the problem in Acheh by peaceful means. Another election at this time in fact will only add insult to injury and reate new hatred against those promoting and enforcing it as well as against those claiming to represent them in the legislative assembly. Consequently, it can be seen clearly that in Acheh that those who want to make Pemilu a success are only members of the political parties, civil servants and those who have been forced by the TNI/POLRI (Indonesian military/police) to do so.
If the Government of Indonesia (GoI) did not choose to use force in the attempt to solve the problem in Acheh and had acted instead with honesty and justice in pursuing the negotiations/dialogues, and in empowering the society and in winning the hearts and minds of the Achehnese, it would have gained more sympathy from them. However, what happens in Acheh is the contrary, the GoI is acting in a contra-productive manner vis-à-vis the interest of the Achehnese people, which has caused them to lose their trust in the Government.
Martial Law Administrator’s Announcements are in violation of the Electoral Law
The restriction of media and foreign monitors from observing the running of the Pemilu in Acheh, which has been clearly stipulated in the announcemetns issued by the Administrator of the Martial Law in Acheh as published by the various media such as the Serambi Indonesia dailies dated April 1, 2004 and Tempo of April 2, 2004:
1. Foreign monitors must come in and go out only through the Iskandar Muda
airport in Banda Acheh.
2. They must report themselves upon arrival to the Martial Law Administration in order to obtain the permit, to present their pasports with relevant visas, the “green book” issued by the Director General of Immigration and the Accreditation Letter issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Electoral Commission (KPU).
3. They will be allowed to be present only until April 8, 2004 in 47 out of 223 district capitals in Acheh.
4. They must spend the nights in the district capitals only, do their monitoring from 08.00 to 18.00 hours local time, not make any oral or written statement about the military operations in Acheh, not get involved directly in political activities, and not meet any member of GAM, and in order to assure all these conditions are made, they will be under guard of the military all the time.
All the above conditions are clearly in contravention of the Law on Pemilu No. 12, Art. 135: “Monitors from within or outside the country must register themselves with the KPU”. With the announcement of the additional conditions stated above, the Martial Law Administrator has indeed broken this law.
II. RESULTS OF MONITORING
There are 2.689.836 eligible voters for the 2004 elections in Acheh out of the total population of 4.227.000. Our observation can be devided into 4 (four) stages, as follows:
1. The period approaching the Pemilu Preparation between early December 2003 to March 10 2004
During the period approaching the Preparation Phase of the Pemilu, the GoI increased the number of TNI troops and police personnel in Acheh by tens of thousands posted all over Acheh, giving as excuse to provide the security in order to make the Pemilu in Acheh a success. In addition, 60 000 civilians were recruited to serve as “Linmas” (People’s Protection) militia members, purportedly also “to assure the success of the Pemilu”.
2. The Period of the Campaign Duration from March 11 to 31, 2004
During the time approaching the Campaign Phase, the TNI/Polri increased the number of their operational posts to cover even the remotest villages, also for the purported purpose of maintaining the security of the Pemilu in order to make it successful.
3. The Period of Cooling-off from April 2 to 5, 2004
It is ironic that during the Cooling off Phase, cases of intimidation and co-ercion against civilians by the State institutions such as the non-organic TNI/Polri units posted to Acheh. They were conducting patrols by foot to villages and performing house to house visits to tell the occupants to come voting at the designated booths on the eletion day. The troops were placed on full combat ready posture in at least three voting areas, encircling them with a radius of 500 meters, reaching into the fringes of the jungles. They also performed the unique TNI/Polri siege system called “fence of legs” in almost all villages bordering hills or jungles.
3. The Period of the Election D Day on April 5, 2004
On the electoral D Day of April 5, 2004 we obtained the information directly from the polling sites that TNI/Polri troops who were posted there were teaching the voters how to vote, while other soldiers and policemen conducted door-to-door visits to take out the occupants and bring them to the voting sites.
III. VIOLATION CASES TAKING PLACE BEFORE AND DURING THE 2004 ELECTION DAY
In general there are several electoral rules violations that we have been able to detect during the periods of preparation, campaigning and cooling-off as well as on the election day itself on April 5 2004 in Acheh. We presented hereunder such violations briefly. A more complete listing can be read from the accompanying annex.
1. Intimidation. The intimidation was carried out by TNI/Polri troops in the
form of carrying out foot-patrols into villages, threatening the people by shooting
into the air or even wildly in all directions; distributing anonymous pamphlets.
The worse is when the TNI/Polri repeatedly told the people that; “Those
who do not participate in the election will be considered GAM”.
2. Mass Mobilisation. This action was taken when a certain political party was campaigning. The people were be forced to attend and many were taken from their houses and brought under guard in army trucks to the public rally sites. Such cases were taking place in almost every part of Acheh, espeially in East Acheh, North Acheh, Pidie, South Acheh, Greater Acheh, and West Acheh.
3. Torture. Cases of torture of civilians concern those who dared to resist, or showed indifference or refused to obey the TNI/Polri’s calls to go to the polling sites. In this case these people were automatically accused as being members of GAM. Several cases of torture have been reported to us.
4. Kidnapping. Society leaders who dared to voice their criticism of the government have been kidnapped. Many of those taken illegally by the TNI/Polri for “security reasons” are still missing. Most of such incidents took place in East Acheh district.
5. Killing. A village chief in Pidie district was murdered after he was forced to cooperate with the TNI/Polri in the effort “to make the Pemilu a success”. Atually there have been many incidents of killing for refusing to cooperate in the holding of the election but the victims were alleged to be members of GAM and thus not considered related to the election.
6. Rapes. Incidents of rape happened when the TNI/Polri troops were performing operations into villages and house-to-house visits in the pretext of checking for weapons and chasing out GAM members from the villages. In one of such incidents that took place in East Acheh, the troops entered a house inhabited by several women, whom they forced to obey all their instructions that ended with raping.
7. Extortion. Incidents of extortion were carried out very professionally and covert, in which members of a communiy who were found not present in a particular military sponsored public meeting or not active during the electoral campaign by a certain party, were arrested. They were accused of being members of GAM and taken to a TNI/Polri operational post and would be released only after paying between 500.000 to 2.000.000 rupiahs. They were told that if the payments were revealed to anyone they would be arrested again.
8. Arrest of journalists. A journalist by the name of Dandhy Dwi Laksono was arrested when covering the process of Pemilu Preparation in Tiro, Pidie. He was taken to the local military hq., the Tiro Koramil Pos, where he was interrogated despite the fact that he had his press identity paper with him.
A more detailed report of the incidents cited above is provided in the annnexed listing.
IV. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
It is clear that the GoI will carry out the Pemilu in Acheh regardless of the conditions prevailing there. This determination was voiced by Hari Subarno, ad-interim Political and Security Affairs Minister, in the Tempo daily of April 2, 2004. Some of the statements made by observers and monitors on the running of the Pemilu in Acheh are as follows:
1. “Holding the Pemilu under the Martial Law has resulted in the loss
of the principles of democracy and as such the results are not acceptable”.
Smita Notosusanto, Executive Director of the Centre for Electoral Reform (CETRO).
2. “Under the Military Emergency Law, the Martial Law Administrator is the most powerful man after God and all civil institutions are dead and buried as far as the common people are concerned, so the military can legalize anything in the name of security”. Kristiadi of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).
3. “The Pemilu in Acheh is no different if compared to the situation under the New Order (of President Suharto), when the election was held only as one of the regim’s activities. This is more so when campaigning is only allowed to Golkar, PDI-P and Partai Demokrat parties”. Director of human rights NGO, Imparsial.
4. “Pemilu in Acheh is not denoting the existence of the sauvereignty of the people, but that of the military; holding an election in Acheh under the military emergency rule is a bad precedent that could be repeated in other provinces”. Otto Syamsuddin Ishak, a social observer.
Indeed, all the past elections in Acheh that have been held in 1979, 1984, 1989 and 1999 with violence and force and it is evident that this 2004 election is no exception. After so many elections held there is still no change for the better as far as the Achehnese are concerned; in fact, what happened were the destruction of their culture, tradition and economy, when all the natural resources of their country plundered for the benefits of the Indonesian political elite in Jakarta, without any equitable distribution among the Achehnese themselves.
Considering the conditions in which the process of the holding of the Pemilu in Acheh are being carried out, which are under the threats of the gun and the military emergency law, we would like to recommend to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and to the government in exile of the State of Acheh (PNA) as well as to the national and international communities, the following:
1. That holding of the Pemilu in Acheh is being conducted with the use of
force and against all the principle of democraticacy, not in freedom and not
in secret and that such violations happened in almost all parts of Acheh. That
use of force and militarism in the Acheh conflict will not solve anything, and
as such the martial law must be lifted immediately and all the non-organic troops
withdrawn in order to respect the values of humanities and human rights.
2. Both military and police forces of the GoI (TNI/Polri) and the GAM (TNA/Bentara) must end the use of violence, because there is nothing they can win that way, on the contrary, they are only increasing the number of victims among themselves and the civilians.
3. Both the GoI and GAM should return to the peace process through negotiations or dialogues immediately to be facilitated by a mutually agreed nation or one appointed by the UN.
4. The international community should persuade both parties in a concrete manner in order to put an end to the conflict in Acheh through peaceful dialogues.
5. The Elections and the Martial Law have failed to find a solution to the Acheh conflict, whereas Referendum and Self Determination are the best and most democratic way that must be followed by the governments of Indonesia and of the Free Acheh Movement (GAM) to solve the Acheh conflict comprehensively.
We end these reports of our monitoring with the hope that they would be useful to all concerned and all relevant parties.
Banda Acheh, 12 April 2004
Election Watch Team of
The Acheh Referendum Information Centre (SIRA)
Presidium Council Member
Detection by the Acheh Referendum Information Centre (SIRA) of Violations of the Indonesian Electoral Laws in Acheh (From December 2003 to April 5 2004)
These data were obtained from various sources including direct observation in the field, investigation and reports from members of the society who were victims of violations, their families and the press. The information covered 4 (four) periods: the preparatory stage, the campaign stage, the cooling-off stage and the voting day itself. We present these data in detail hereunder:
I. The Pemilu Preparation Period, from December 2003 to March 31, 2004
1. Recruitment of members of society as “Community Protectors”.
Known under its Indonesian acronym as Linmas (Lindungan Masyarakat or Community Protectors), the militia was formed for the purported purpose of assuring the security of the election from being disturbed by GAM. The Martial Law Administrator (PDMD) deployed 60.000 Linmas members supported by POLRI (police) and TNI (military). (Serambi Indonesia, 10 March 2004). Some of the members of Linmas are from the militia groups formed by the TNI these last few months in Acheh. PDMD also intensified security measures in Acheh by increasing sieges and patrols by TNI troops of a number of areas designated as “black”. As stated by Major General Endang Suwarya: “The 11.025 voting points have been devided into 2.440 areas. Out of these areas 1.365 are peaceful, 622 designated as gray and 453 are designated as black areas”.
On December 12 2003, at 21.00 hrs.local time, TNI BKO (reinforcement from outside Acheh), battalion Yonif 315, based at Geulumpang Minyeuk sub-district in the district of Pidie, came to the house of village chief Keuchik Nurdin bin A. Rahman, 45, of Kampung Tufah Jeulatang. They called him out and a discussion took place. The victim was asked to cooperate with them in the effort to make the Pemilu successful, which he refused. The soldiers became angry and scolded the victim. Suddenly they shot him and he fell. The troops returned to their base and left the victim in the pool of his own blood. The next day the news spread quickly in the ommunity as he was one of the wellknown leaders of the community. He as buried by the villagers without any investigation by the authorities.
On March 21, 2004, all TNI/Polri BKO based in all the sub-districts of East Acheh intimidted continuously members of the public of Pulo Panyang, in the district of East Peureulak, West Peureulak, Idi, South Idi, Simpang Ulim amd Kuta Binjee, to participate in the voting on April 5, 2004. TNI/Polri troops also threatened the populaiton with the statement that: “All members of the community must participate in the Pemilu, if not, they should be ready to face the risk of being shot”. This statement was issued by the TNI/Polri BKO units who visited various villages in the East Acheh district.
The TNI/Polri BKO troops who were conducting operations into villages told all they met in the villages: “If you don’t participate in the election go follow Ishak Daud” (TNA/GAM commander for Peureulak). Such statement naturally frightened and traumatised the villagers, having often experienced that each time the soldiers entered their villages and they inquired about members of GAM, they were always beaten up when they could not give a satisfactory answer.
5. Increasing the number of military posts
Approching the Period of Preparation of the Pemilu in Acheh the number of TNI/Polri posts was increased significantly and trooos were sent to the remotest villages in Acheh, such as to Kampung Sabu, West Peureulak (East Acheh), Indrapuri (Greater Acheh), Meuraksa and Seulimum (Pidie), Matang Kuli, and Tanah Luas (North Acheh). There have been indications that the security forces were working for the victory of a certain political party.
6. Threatened to be shot.
TNI/Polri troops based in East Acheh, started to force the population and village chiefs in East Acheh with the threat: “If the Pemilu in Acheh failed by 50 %, we shall shoot at the population”. This statement was given by the TNI/Polri through all the village chiefs, such as in the sub-district of Rantoe Panyang in Peureulak, and in other sub-districts in East Acheh. Whenever the troops entered the villages they always shouted sarcastically to the people to “form the Ishak Daud Party”. The TNI/Polri branded villages that did not put up electoral banners or flags as GAM villages. Such intimidation has taken place since March 3, 2004 until voting day.
7. Killing of members of the public who voiced opposition
On Januari 29, 2004, TNI troops of the Strategic Command battalion, Kosrad Yonif 433, based at Kampung Sarah village, Tualang, Rantoe Panyang, kidnapped Ibrahim bin Idris, 47, from his house at Kampong Rayeuk, Rantoe Panyang. Family members who went to the Kostrad Yonif 433 post to ask about him were told he was not there. The victim was one of those who have dared to protest against the military involvement in the election. On March 3, 2004 villagers of Idi Rayeuk found his corpse, with his and hands cut off, and his body full of cigarette burns. Humanitarian workers returned the corpse later to his family for burial.
II. During the Campaign Period from March 11 to 31, 2004
1. Increasing the Military posts.
Military posts were increased practically all over Acheh during the Campaign Period, reaching even the remotest villages with the troops telling the population to participate in the efforts to make the Pemilu a success or the military would consider them as supporters of GAM
On March 31, 2004, at 11.00 am. Local time, an illegal arrest was carried out by the KOPASSUS unit of the TNI based at Mesjid Raya mosque at Gampong Reuyung, Krueng Raya, Greater Acheh. The victim was Muhammad Nur bin Ali, 45, and his fate and whereabouts are still unknown.
III. The cooling-off period from April 1 to April 4, 2004
1. Forced Night Vigilance Duty.
Until the eve of voting day on April 4, TNI troops from the Bat. 405 BKO based at Kampung Alue Bugeng, East Puereulak, forced the population of Alue Bugeng to perform night vigilance guard all over the village every night with teams of 8 persons each from 8.00 pm to 7.00 am. Every day the teams have to report for duty and after completing duty to the military post.
2. Demanding Cooperation.
TNI troops in civilian clothes entered the village of Alue Lhok, East Peureulak, carrying weapons, supposedly to win over the population and instead disturbed the conservative villagers by writing love letters to village girls. In a letter to one of the girls, ABG, the TNI soldier asked the girl to work with him and to accept his love and to love him in order to make it easier for him and his friends to enter the village and other villages around it.
3. Foot Patrol.
On April 3, the people of Seuneubok Teupin village, East Peureulak, were also forced by the TNI BKO troops based in East Peureulak to perform night guard duty every night with teams consisting of 8 men each. In addition the Battalion Yonif 111 troops also increased the number of their operational posts (Posko). They conducted foot patrolling into the villages. This made the population edgy and scared.
4. Distributions of pamphlets.
On April 3, 2004, soldiers in civilian clothes of the TNI BKO based at Pidie, distributed fake pamplhets purportedly from GAM to villages in Pidie. The content of the pamphlets, among other things, say that:
a. GAM will execute villagers who participate in the elections
b. GAM will impose a fine of Rp. 5.000.000 (five million) rupiahs from each person who votes
c. GAM will cut the finger of anyone who votes.
On April 3, 2004, TNI troops threatened the population of Jiem-Jiem and Bandar Baru in Pidie, in order to come voting at the Lueng Putu town. They visited the villages wearing jungle uniforms and fully armed.
6. Forced night guard duty.
From April 3 to 5, 2004 the entire male population of Alue Lhok, Peureulak, East Acheh were forced to perform mass night guard duty by Brimob (Police Mobile Paramilitary Brigade), BKO, based at Seuneubok Puntie, and TNI troops of the Yonif 405 battalion, BKO, based at Alue Bugeng, and of TNI Yonif 111, BKO, based at Teupin, Peureulak, East Acheh. They were told the intention of the night duty was to make the Pemilu successful and those who refused would face dire consequences.
7. Foot Patrol.
On April 4, 2004 at 19.30 local time, TNI/Polri BKO troops based at Sawang and Nisam in North Acheh, conducted an operation on foot into villages and they told every one they met to participate in the Pemilu. When the TNI left, a platoon of TNA guerillas entered the villages and broke the voting boxes.
On April 4, 2004, Brimob BKO soldiers based at the Police Hq in Meurah Mulia, along the ExxonMobil pipeline conducted an operation into the villages of Meunasah Reuba and Meunjee Peuet, in North Acheh. The soldiers forced the villagers to gather at the Meunasah Cubreek prayer house to listen to their instruction to vote on April 5. Those who did not show up were branded members of GAM or their families. At the same time other soldiers from various units launch operations to surround the villages up to the fringe of the jungles bordering the villages.
On April 4, 2004, at 11.00 am., local time, TNI BKO troops conducted an operation in the village of Baree Blang, Meurah Mulia, North Acheh. During this operation they beat up and outraged two women by stripping them naked and questioned them about their absent husbands. Their husbands were in fact dead but the soldiers didn’t want to believe them. The soldiers then ransacked their houses. All families in the village must be able to produce everyone registered in the Family Card, otherwise the absent ones will be considered members of GAM.
10. The torching of voting booths.
There was an armed clash between TNI and TNA troops at Simpang III, Kumbang Tanjong, Bambi, Glumpang Meunyeuk, Lueng Putu in Pidie. During this clashes voting booths and ballot boxes were burnt. It is not yet known if there were any casualy in the incident.
11. Forced to guard Voting sites.
On April 4, 2004, TNI BKO troops based at Meunasah Mesjid village in Meurah Mulia, North Acheh, forced the people living around voting sites to guard the sites from 8.00pm.to morning. The concerned people were threatened with dire consequences of they refused to comply with the order.
12. Arrest of a student
On April 4, 2004, Saiful Idris, 14, a junior high school student of Seumirah village in Nisam district, North Acheh, was arrested by TNI troops who were carrying out an operation into the village to assure the villagers’participation in the election the next day. The victim was arrested at Seumirah village and taken by the troops, and his fate and whereabouts are still unknown..
13. Mass intimidation
On April 4, 2004, almost all villages and towns in North Acheh were forced by the TNI/Polri to participate in the Pemilu the next day, many of them were forcibly assigned to guard the polling sites until the morning of the polling day. Those who refused were threatened with execution as members of GAM.
14. Intimidating Village community leaders.
On April 4, 2004, all community leaders in North Acheh were gathered in the local military headquarters (MAKODIM) to be told about the Pemilu. They were threatened that if “more than 50% of the votes were spoilt, their villages will be considered of having harboured GAM and the village chief must bear the responsibility”.
15. Arrest of journalist.
On April 4, 2004, at 21.00 hrs local time, Dandhy Dwi Laksono, one of the reporters of the online publication www.Achehkita.com, came to cover the election in the sub-district of Tiro, Pidie. He was taken to the TNI Makoramil hq and interrogated for failing to report his arrival to the military authorities, despite the fact the he was in possession of his journalist identity documents.
The people in the Peusangan sub-district were forced by the TNI/Polri to come to voting sites, those who failed to do so were taken from their houses. The commander of the military contingent in Bireuen told them that: “If the election failed in Peusangan, it will be declared as a dangerous area”.
IV. On the day of voting on April 5, 2004
1. Forcing to go to voting sites.
At about 05.52 am local time, TNI BKO troops based at Nisam forced the people to go to the polling sites. Not a single person was allowed to remain in their houses including children, telling them not to lock up their houses in order to allow the security forces to do house to house checking to assure no one remain.
2. Arrested for not voting.
Abdullah bin Tgk.Puteh, 50, farmer, resident of Kampung Seuneubok, Nisam, North Acheh, was arrested by TNI BKO based at Nisam for refusing to go voting. The victim was interrogated, tortured and then taken away. He is still missing.
3. Instructing the voters how to vote at the moment of voting.
TNI BKO soldiers based at Kampung Teumpeuen, Syamtalira Bayu, North Acheh, instructed voters how to vote at the moment of voting at the polling booth of Kampung Teumpeuen. The soldiers also visited houses in the village to check if anyone still not going to vote.
4. House to house check.
All the people of Nisam sub-district were forced by the TNI to go with them to the polling sites. The soldiers also forbade the people to lock their houses so they said they could check if anyone still remains in the houses.
5. Arrested for not going to the voting site.
At around 11.00 am, Muhammadiah Ahmad, 43, motorcycle taxi rider of Kampung Meudang Keureusek village, Kuta Makmur, North Acheh, was arrested by TNI soldiers because he failed to go to the voting site. The victim was taken away and is still missing.
TNI BKO troops based at the village prayer house of Blang Rheum, in the Jeumpa sub-district shot 2 civilians without any reason whatsoever. The victims were Muhammad Nasir, 25, and Abu Bakar, 33. The incident was witnessed by several members of the public. It was also reported in the Tempo daily of April 6 2004. According to the paper the two were shot at Blang Rheum village a few hours before voting time. Muhammad Nasir was shot while guarding the voting booth while Abu Bakar, 33, was shot later. An eye witness, Nurdin, 33, of Blang Rheum, said that the incident took place at 05,30 am. At the time a number of people who were ordered to be on night duty at the polling site were startled by the sound of shots coming from the hill not far from the pollig booth. The first shot wounded Nasir on his right hip. The TNI soldiers who took over the prayer house as their post shot back. The second incident took place an hour later at the shopping area about 600 m from the polling booth. Abu Bakar was hot on his right shoulder. Ms. Nurhalimah, a villager who was at the place of the incident said that the shooting took place after an earlier armed clash died down. At that time the soldier who had taken over the prayer house as heir base, about 200 m. from the the shop where the victim was shot when he ran out of the shop.“Maybe the soldier thought he was running away. The shot hit Abu Bkar who was laying on the ground”, she said. She however could not ascertain if the shot was fired by the TNI soldier who was in front of the shop or from the attackers who were on the hill behind the shop. From the observation of the Tempo News Room personnel who were at the location of the incident, a bullet was lodged on a pillar of the shop. >From the hole on the pillar it was thought that the shot came from the front of the shop. “From the trace of the shooting, it could be ascertained that the shot came from the direction of the front of the shop,” said a witness. Both victims who were visited by Tempo News Room acknowledged that they didn’t know from which direction the shots came from. “Suddenly I feld hot on my hip,” said Nasir. Abu Bakar also did not know who shot him but he said he was sure the shot came from the front of the shop when he was laying down on the grown.
7. People were taken by trucks to voting sites.
Due to the shooting incident, a number of villagers who were supposed to vote at the Blang Rheum polling station did not dare to come. According to Fadli, Seneubok Lhong village chief, at about 09.00 am a military truck was sent to bring them to the polling station. (Tempo April, 6 2004).
8. Bombing incident.
In the Sawang sub-district the election took place under heavy guard. This area was formerly a stronghold of GAM and the place now has become a ghost town with only 39 people coming to vote. From East Acheh it was reported that 8 children were injured by bomb shrapnels. It is not know yet who caused the explosion (Koran Tempo of April 6, 2004).
9. Black areas heavily controlled.
Some villages are declared as totally “black” as they had been used as GAM bases before. TNI troops were in total control of the voting in such areas. Soldiers accompanied voters even into the voting booths with the excuse in order to make sure that the people really voting and did not spoil the voting papers. TNI soldeirs also taught the voters how to do the marking on the ballot paper. Such measures took place in many areas such as at Nisam and Sawang in North Acheh.
10. The votes were not counted at the voting sites.
At the village of Reuleuet in the sub-district of Dewantra, North Acheh, the ballots of 663 voters who are detained members of GAM, were not counted at the voting site. The boxes were brought to Lhokseumawe without the knowledge of the Electoral Commission (PPK) officials.
11. Many spoilt ballot papers.
In the sub-district of Banda Sakti, North Acheh 85 % ballot papers were spoilt. The military/police authooroties told the people of this sub-district that they are “stupid, incapable even to vote correctly, such are indeed the supporters of GAM”.
12. Many spoilt ballot papers.
In the Banda Sakti sub-district, 85 % votes were declared invalid. In the Panggoi village, Muara Dua, North Acheh, all the ballot papers were found spoilt. The military/police authorities, BKO in this area were furious and gathered the population for dressing down.
13. Many spoilt ballot papers.
TNI troops of Yonif 315/Garuda BKO based at Tiro, led by Inf. First Lt. Hasan Misri together with the Tiro Koramil (local military hq) soldiers, gathered all residents of Tiro because all ballot papers from 17 out of 19 villages in this sub-district were spoilt at the time of voting. The people were severely rebuked and told to be ready for the consequences for being supporters of GAM.
The above data form an initial report of the information that we have been
able to gather and analysed, obtained from the various sources that we have
through direct monitoring, investigation and reports from members of the public,
victims, families of victims and mass media. We hope very much that all competent
and independent parties would be able to carry out further investigations on
the violations so that democracy and peace can be built in Acheh especially
and in Indonesia generally.