Former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief AM Hendropriyono has admitted to handing over three suspected terrorists to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but said he had no knowledge of US secret operations to detain and torture suspected terrorists worldwide, in the latter’s battle against terrorism.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post on Thursday, Hendropriyono said the suspected terrorists were arrested in Poso, Central Sulawesi, in 2002.
The operation in Poso had nothing to do with the CIA, he said.
“We didn’t get the order from the CIA. I remember that we arrested three foreign nationals who had evidently masterminded conflicts between Christians and Muslims in Poso around 2002. I finally decided to transfer the three suspects to the CIA because our own authorities, including the National Police and the House of Representatives, rejected our findings, even though we forwarded all the necessary evidence,” Hendropriyono said.
A 213-page report by the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) revealed that since 2002, Hendropriyono had aided the CIA in arresting three suspected terrorists, namely Muhammed Saad Iqbal Madni, Omar al-Faruq and Salah Nasir Salim Ali Qaru (Marwan al-Adeni), which were later transferred to other countries to be secretly detained and tortured.
Hendropriyono said that following the rejection of BIN’s findings, he informed foreign intelligence agencies, including the CIA, about the arrests of the three militants. The US intelligence agency later asked BIN to extradite the suspects as they were on its wanted list.
“We didn’t team up with the CIA to arrest the suspects. Each of us had our own operation. I knew that the suspects would likely walk free so I handed them to the CIA as they should’ve been held responsible for what they did in Poso,” he said.
According to the report titled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition”, Indonesia is one of 54 foreign governments that reportedly participated in the CIA’s covert operations in which terrorist suspects were held in secret prisons and tortured during interrogation.
The countries were involved in various ways, including by hosting CIA prisons on their territories; detaining, interrogating, torturing and abusing individuals; assisting in the capture and transport of detainees; and interrogating individuals who were secretly being held in the custody of other governments.
Hendropriyono is mentioned in the report. On Jan. 9, 2002 he is said to have arrested a Pakistani-Egyptian national — Madni — in Jakarta, after Indonesian intelligence officials informed the CIA that the suspect intended to share his bomb-making skills with others.
Hendropriyono reportedly allowed Madni to be extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt, where the latter suffered torture from Egyptian interrogators.