Kopassus Jail Executions Cannot be Justified: SBY

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono holds a press conference at the Presidential Palace on the Cebongan prison killings. (Rumgapres Photo/Abror Rizki)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono holds a press conference at the Presidential Palace on the Cebongan prison killings. (Rumgapres Photo/Abror Rizki)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono slammed the alleged revenge killing of four Cebongan prison inmates by Kopassus special forces members, calling the executions a brutal example of “street justice” carried out by Indonesian armed forces.

“Street justice cannot be justified  under the state’s law,” Yudhoyono said. “It was said the attack happened because of the ‘spirit of the corps.’ because a group of thugs brutally murdered a member of Kopassus. But brutality in any form cannot be justified.”

Yudhoyono’s words came one day after Brig. Gen. Untung K. Yudhoyono, head of the military’s investigations team, held a televised press conference verifying that the March 23 jail killings were carried out by rouge Kopassus members.

Eleven Kopassus members stormed Cebongan  prison, in Sleman, Yogyakarta, the night of March 23. The special forces members, garbed in face masks and armed with AK-47s and FN Five-Seven pistols, attacked the prison’s two wardens and threatened to detonate grenades in the jail.

They then rounded up and executed four detainees awaiting trial for the murder of Kopassus member First Sgt. Heru Santosa. Heru was fatally stabbed during a brawl at Sleman’s Cafe Hugos.

Yudhoyono issued orders for the prosecution of the Kopassus members to continue in accordance with the law.

“I instructed that the investigation should be accelerated and carried out openly and professionally so the public can see the whole picture of the case,” he said. “We can’t let any injustices happen.”

This incident should serve as a warning to all Indonesian security forces.

“I hope everyone will support the legal process and learn a lesson from this case,” Yudhoyono said. “God willing, out country will be more orderly.”