The International Federation of Journalists has sent a letter of protest to the Commander of the Indonesian Military urging them to ensure the safety of Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro and to protest the brutal attack against radio journalist Alif Imam Nurlambang in East Aceh.
The IFJ have protested to the Commander of the Indonesian Military, Gen. Endriartono Sutarto and Gen. (ret.) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for Political, Security, and Social Affairs in the following letter:
8 July 2003
Commander of the Armed Forces
Gen. Endriartono Sutarto
Markas Besar TNI
Fax: +(62 21) 84591617,+ (62 21) 84595099 (Satum/ General Unit), 84595547, 84595338 (Puspen/
Gen. (ret.) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Coordinating Minister for Political, Security, and Social Affairs
Jl. Merdeka Barat No. 15
Tel: +(62 21) 345 1064
Fax: +(62 21) 345 0918
Dear Gen. Yudhoyono
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the safety of RCTI journalists Ersa Siregar and cameraman Fery Santoro.
We wrote to you last week urging that the Indonesian military not launch attacks to release the journalists. We understand from reports, however that the military has now issued an ultimatum that the journalists show themselves or face " a difficult situation."
According to our information, Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro went missing at about 4 p.m on Sunday 29 June while on assignment in Langsa, Aceh. The two journalists had been covering the military operation in Aceh since May 19. We now understand that they are being held by GAM in East Aceh.
The IFJ reminds the Indonesian military of your absolute obligation under the Geneva Convention to respect the safety of journalists.
The IFJ requests that the military withdraw the ultimatum and again request you not to launch an offensive in the area.
In a separate incident, the IFJ is deeply concerned over the assault of radio journalist Alif Imam Nurlambang, in Panton Luas, South Aceh of 68H Radio, who according to reports was physically assaulted by troops in Aceh.
According to our information, the journalist had been reporting from Aceh for three weeks, and was attacked by security forces in a local resident's house interviewing the owner regarding refugees in the area.
He had been at the house for around two hours interviewing the owner when two military trucks and a Kopassus car filled with Kopassus, Brimob and Marines suddenly arrived. They entered the house forcibly and pulled out the journalist and his guide Jaka Rasyid to a waiting car where they were beaten and kicked by five troops, one of which hit him with a M-16 riffle butt.
The IFJ condems the attack against Alif and Jaka and asks the Government of Indonesia to launch a full investigation into the attack ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice. The IFJ reminds the TNI that under the Geneva Convention journalists are regarded as citizens and thus should not be regarded as military targets under any circumstances.