Zona Politik

Untimely Amnesty for Din Minimi

Din Minimi-KA BIN2


ZONADAMAI.COM – The armed group that had been roaming and causing considerable disturbances in the forests of Aceh over the past two years has finally descended from the mountain zone in peace.

The group, with dozens of members under Nurdin Ismail – popularly called Din Minimi – emerged from the forests to a special welcome. Din Minimi was met by National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Sutiyoso after leaving his hideout on Dec. 29 along with his followers, also giving up 15 long-barreled guns to the security personnel present.

Naturally, the descent of Din Minimi’s group was not as simple as that. Behind it there were meetings to build mutual trust between Din Minimi and Sutiyoso representing the state, besides his demands and the BIN chief’s promises, mediators’ guarantees and of course concessions for the future.

From Sutiyoso’s explanations, we have been informed of Din Minimi’s demands, including the granting of an amnesty to his members as well as the development of welfare for orphans and widows of victims of conflict. Din Minimi also requested that the Corruption Eradication Commission investigate the spending of the Aceh provincial budget and that an independent supervisory team be assigned during the regional elections.

From the demands we can see a clear divide distinguishing Din Minimi’s movement from the past struggle of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Din Minimi’s demands are inclined toward an expression of disappointment at the approach and performance of the Aceh administration, especially that of Governor Zaini Abdullah and Deputy Governor Muzakir Manaf. They are new demands and constitute dissatisfaction arising since the Helsinki Agreement.

In addition, the story of Din Minimi’s flight is also completely different from that of the guerrilla warfare waged by GAM combatants in the past.

Din Minimi disappeared after a series of acts of violence and crime allegedly committed by his group since the beginning of 2014. An incident caused a major uproar when an armed gang assumed to be Din Minimi’s group shot dead two Indonesian Military intelligence officers on March 23, 2015. Following the occurrence Din Minimi fled with his group into the forests of East Aceh, until high-ranking officials from Jakarta met him later.

A problem came to the fore when the demand for an amnesty proposed by Din Minimi for himself and his group turned out to be a condition granted by the government. Sutiyoso said Din Minimi’s group would be granted amnesty and freed after being legally processed. Sutiyoso himself would submit the proposal to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo concerning their pardon.

In fact, before Din Minimi surrendered along with his group through the BIN mechanism, he had sent a delegate to the National Police. He only requested protection so that he and his members would not be killed. He was prepared to descend from the mountain and give up. At the time, there was no amnesty request. Regarding the discourse on an amnesty for Din Minimi and his group, I can only say: Wallahualambissawab (only God knows the truth).

Is amnesty appropriate?

In legal terms, the President has the authority to give amnesty after taking into account the considerations of the House of Representatives. This is explicitly stipulated in Article 14, paragraph 2 of the Constitution. The amnesty is a mechanism or legal policy at the disposal of the President to grant a pardon to a group of people involved in political crime.

Din Minimi obviously does not belong to this category because all his acts along with his group were purely criminal, having nothing to do with political crime. That he attempted to link himself with GAM in the past was a mere unilateral claim.

Even if Din Minimi had some connection with GAM, this evidently cannot serve as a reason to grant amnesty. The problem is that the granting of amnesty to all leaders and activists of GAM as agreed upon in the Helsinki Agreement, or the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the government and GAM, was already completed 10 years ago.

Even the text of the Helsinki Agreement on Amnesty and Reintegration clearly states that the use of weapons by GAM personnel after the signing of the MOU between the government and GAM would be considered a violation and would negate the amnesty granted to the relevant party. The MOU was signed on Aug. 15, 2005. The activities of Din Minimi took place a long time after the signing of the agreement.

The other thing worth considering in order to not make any hasty decisions to grant amnesty to Din Minimi and his group is that official leaders of GAM in its organizational structure never recognized Din Minimi as an element of the GAM establishment. A number of ex-GAM leaders even identified Din Minimi as a person or guest who arrives after the festivities are over.

A prominent example to be studied is GAM activist Ismuhadi, who was imprisoned before the negotiation and signing of the peace agreement due to his involvement in the detonation of explosives at the Jakarta Stock Exchange building. In the granting of the amnesty, he was not among those pardoned because his act of blowing up the building was seen as unrelated to the political struggle of GAM. The GAM leaders at the time recognized that and claimed he was a GAM activist.


Apart from the above way of thinking, granting amnesty to Din Minimi and his group is like fertilizing soil with compost, thus encouraging certain people or groups in the future to commit crimes and later disguise themselves in political activities, feeling convinced that they will escape any legal action through the government’s amnesty.

Let’s take a look at real life conditions in our country today. One of our big threats is the fundamentalist movement in the formation of terrorism and drug trafficking with abundant funds. Associated people can carry out their missions and later utilize political activities for camouflage.

In executing their missions they certainly do not hesitate to face the state because they claim to be waging political resistance against the state or government. To avoid punishment, they seek to negotiate with the state so as to be granted amnesty.

In the case of Din Minimi, the granting of amnesty to him and his group would trigger political turbulence between the President and the House because the amnesty mechanism has to take heed of House considerations. A protracted debate that costs the President time and energy will be inevitable. [http://print.kompas.com, 19/1/2015]

*) Lecturer, School of Law Hasanuddin University

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