Wahid’s party accuses fired police chief, allies of treason


JAKARTA, AFP

The political party of Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Tuesday accused the sacked national police chief and his allies of treason for refusing to accept his dismissal by Wahid.

“(General Suroyo) Bimantoro’s behavior amounts to treason,” Legislator Effendy Choirie of Wahid’s National Awakening Party told AFP.

Wahid told Bimantoro to resign last Friday and also sacked four ministers, including his top security chief and the attorney-general.

But Bimantoro refused to step down, prompting Wahid to declare him “non-active” on Saturday at the swearing in of new Deputy Police Chief Chaeruddin Ismael, also named caretaker police chief.

Choirie said a defiant parade in Jakarta Tuesday of 8,000 police and troops and weekend statements signed by senior police officers in support of Bimantoro were also treasonous.

“The parade was a political mobilization by officers in the context of backing up Bimantoro, which means rebellion against the president,” Choirie said.

“Bimantoro’s mobilization of senior officers to make a statement supporting him — this move is treason, it is defiance of the state,” he added.

Bimantoro and the top police command have rejected Wahid dismissal order as unconstitutional and said the parliament must approve any change of police chief.

Some 102 police officers signed a statement supporting Bimantoro that was read out publicly on Sunday by Jakarta police chief Sofyan Jacoeb. Top legislators also declared their support for Bimantoro on Sunday.

Choirie said Wahid was apparently planning to ask parliament in writing later Tuesday for its approval of his decision to sack Bimantoro.

“I heard that he will send the letter later today,” Choirie said.

The chairman of the lower house of parliament (DPR), Akbar Tanjung, said legislators had summoned Bimantoro to the parliament to discuss his status.

This was also rejected by Wahid’s party, Choirie said. “We reject this move as it is politicizing a law which is valid, and it is dramatizing the situation,” he said.

“The president is not wrong constitutionally, there are laws supporting his dismissal of the police chief,” he insisted.

The police force continued to regard Bimantoro as their leader, Jacoeb and national police spokesman Didi Widayadi have said.

They would do so until the Supreme Court or DPR ruled on the definition of “non-active,” Widayadi told AFP. Bimantoro and Ismael meanwhile would together draw up Ismael’s job description and work out the division of duties between them, Widayadi added.

The two officers on Tuesday attended the official transfer of the post of chief security and political affairs minister from retired General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to fellow ex-General Agum Gumelar.

Wahid has blamed Bimantoro for the fatal shooting last week by police of one his supporters in East Java when pro-Wahid mobs went on a rampage against the parliament’s decision to hold impeachment proceedings against him.