Translation by Rachel Robson

Hunt For People-Smuggling Syndicate

9 November 2001

Jakarta The Minister Coordinating Politics and Security, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, clarified the government's attitude towards a syndicate smuggling foreign migrants who use Indonesia as a transit place on the way to a third country. 'We are determined to dismantle this syndicate,' he said in Parliament yesterday.

According to Yudhoyono, members of the security forces have proof that the province of Lampung has been used as a departure point for illegal immigrants going to Australia, The Minister quite recently proposed a meeting with officers in Lampung to settle the matter.

And the results can be seen with the arrest of Abu Quassey alias Abu Kaiz alias Centin Kaya Nagun (36). On Wednesday last Police Headquarters suggested that Quassey was the 'brains' smuggling people from the Middle East to Australia via Indonesia. He is currently being examined at Police Headquarters.

The man of Turkish origin, but having Egyptian citizenship, was snared under Section 53 and 54 of Indonesian Law No 9/1992 concerning immigration, that is, a person who deliberately facilitates illegal immigration in Indonesia. Concerning this offence Quassey is threatened with a sentence of six years gaol or a fine of up to Rp30 million.

Abu Quassey was arrested in Bandung on Sunday (4 November 2001) by a member of the Police Headquarters Intelligence and Security agency. This is in connection with the sinking of a vessel carrying 418 illegal immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Palestine Afghanistan and Algeria in the Java Sea on October 21 last.

This tragic event caused the dream of 418 illegal immigrants from the Middle East to end in the waters of the Indian Ocean. The vessel in which they were passengers sank without leaving a trace apart from 44 people who were saved by fishing boats. The group of immigrants from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan had the intention of going to Christmas Island which is an Australian possession. What could be done? Their boat sank before help arrived. The Indian Ocean became the grave of the unnamed vessel.

Quassey is accused of being the coordinator of this smuggling activity. The name of Quassey was also mentioned by several immigrants who were arrested on Rote Island. Quassey it seems had already been discovered by members of Australian security. The media of several countries mentioned Quassey as the smuggler who was responsible for the Indian Ocean tragedy. Because of that the Australian government requested his extradition.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hassan Wirayudha said at the time that he was not prepared to extradite Quassey as requested by Australia. The reason was that actually, at that time, Quassey had not yet been arrested by Indonesian security forces.

'The problem of Abu Quassey as you well know is that it is thought there is someone called Mr Whatyoumacallit who organized the smuggling of illegal immigrants, and is wanted for extradition before we arrest him, before he is in our custody,' said Hassan concluding a working meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs with representatives of Indonesian Foreign Affairs in the evening of Saturday 28 October.

According to him, extradition could take place if the agent had been arrested and it was certain he was an evil-doer or had already been through the justice process. According to Wirayuha, there is already an extradition agreement between Indonesia and Australia and in that agreement are stated 32 different crimes for which the perpetrator could be extradited, both from Indonesia to Australia and vice-versa.

However, he continued, a party which has been investigated under the extradition agreement doesn't include illegal migrants. But if Australia catches smugglers performing illegal and criminal acts we would be really happy if they were extradited and this is especially true if he is a member of a syndicate or an illegal immigrant,' he said.

When he was capture by police at Lembang, West Java, last Sunday Quassey only carried a letter of proof of registration as a foreigner which was issued at the Jakarta South Immigration Office on 30 August 2000. He didn't possess a passport.

Because of that the police are continuing to investigate Abu Quassey. The Head of the Department of Information at Police Headquarters Prasetyo said that the Turkish man with Egyptian citizenship was snared under Section 53 and 54 of the Indonesian Law No. 9/1992 concerning immigration, that is, a person who deliberately facilitates illegal immigration in Indonesia.

Concerning the offence, Abu Quassey is threatened with a gaol sentence of 6 years or a fine of up to Rp30 million.

What about the question of extradition? According to Prasyeto there is no possibility that it could take place quickly. The reason is that Abu Quassey is still needed by the Indonesian police to uncover the people-smuggling network he is accused of setting in motion.

'If there is anything after he has been extradited, investigations concerning the people-smuggling network could be interrupted,' said Prasyeto.

The Hunt for the Syndicate in East Nusa Tenggara

The hunt for the syndicate is also taking place in East Nusa Tenggara. The province which is closest to Australia is usually used as a gateway to Sandy Cay, Ashmore Reef, to the south of Rote Island. Tuesday last week, police succeeded in catching red-handed in Rote waters a vessel with a patched-up engine which left from Probolinggo, East Java filled with 273 migrants.

They intended to cross to Sandy Cay. But their dream foundered because officers of the NTT Regional Police chased and ambushed them at Palape. Recently NTT Regional Police have been really diligent at blockading Rote to immigrants.

According the explanation of the Head of NTT Regional Police, Brigadier General Jacki Uly, when the vessel carrying the migrants was sighted, it increased its speed. For ten hours the chase was on. Just after the police fired warning shots the captain of the vessel surrendered. The migrants were gathered together at the Kupang National police School.

Prior to that the National Police School in Kupang had accommodated 243 illegal immigrants who had been arrested on October 21 last. 'Of the migrants at the Police School, 15 of them were familiar faces,' said Jacki Uly. One of them was Hasan Ali Abdullah. He had been arrested by NTT Regional police last July and was then sent to Jakarta. It seems he returned with the intention of smuggling.

However, from the mouth of Ali Abdullah the police obtained clear evidence to uncover the syndicate network To the officers the 42 year old man related he was able to flee from the place he was being held in Jakarta thanks to the help of his friend, Amanullah Reejai, alias Gamber, a Pakistani who was a member of the syndicate.

Gamber, according to Hasan Ali had close connections with members of security. 'At the time I fled, the officers appeared to permit it,' he said. Gamber has purportedly been sought by the police for a long time. He has the pledge of Muhammad Ali, an Afghani, who has 4 children who arrange to send immigrants from East Java, Nusa Tenggara and Bali. Reputedly the four people are Anwar Sharaby, Ali Shadhat, Haji Syafar and Syaheed.

Whoever they are, it seems that they are still free to wander around Jakarta. A member of the syndicate of people-smugglers who may have just been arrested is Said Abdul Aziz, 34 years. The man of Arab-Flores descent is now being tried after being arrested last September 2.

Syndicates who dispatch people really have many means. They have many routes to cross to Australia. Apart from Rote, they can usually reach Australia via Sangeang Island 71 kilometres east of Bima, Sumbawa Island West Nusa Tenggara. Last week, 170 illegal immigrants were shipwrecked there after the motor on the boat carrying them broke down.

Capturing the main figure in the syndicate is not easy. The Head of the Public Relations Section at Police Headquarters, Brigadier General Saleh Saaf, said that the group had already formed three special teams who were led by police of the rank of Brigadier General. These three teams were sent to a number of reception centres to spy on people who were suspected of being syndicate bosses.

However, as recently as last week, people who were suspected still had to be investigated or their suspect status confirmed. 'Information concerning a person called Abu Quassey, for example, still needs to be carefully investigated,' said Saleh Saaf at that time. However, then the police succeeded in arresting Quassey and Brigadier Agus Safuan. Agus was charged with participating in escorting immigrants from a reception centre in the vicinity of Puncak, West Java to Lampung. From there the immigrants boarded a vessel which would carry them to Christmas Island.

Brigadier Agus Safuan, a member of the Lembang Police unit, is still being examined. 'It can't be positively determined if he was acting on his own behalf or for the government,' said Prasyeto. If Minister Yudhoyono is really determined (to do something) about the network involving Brigadier Agus he can no longer sit with his legs dangling (doing nothing). Because it appears that the government won't be forgiven.

The reason is, whatever happens the problem of illegal immigrants if it is let be, will clearly be a burden to the government. Because, according to Kemala Anggraini Ahwil, External Relations Officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, only 35% of the illegal immigrants arrested by police fulfill the conditions for refugees.

'A majority of them are illegal migrants. They are the responsibility of the government, not UNHCR,' she said. Richard Danziger, the head of the Liason Office of the International Organisation of Migrants also does not want to be troubled with the responsibility for these migrants. 'If the police and immigration officers give recommendations, certainly we will help,' he said to Asmayani Kusrini from Gatra. When will all this take place?

Dani Hamdani, Aries kelana and Antonius Un Taolin (Kupang) [Gatra national #51 5 November 2001]

Imigran Gelap

Memburu Sindikat Penyelundup Manusia
9 November 2001

Jakarta, 9 November 2001 00:31
Menteri Koordinator Politik dan Keamanan Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono menegaskan sikap pemerintah terhadap sindikat penyelundupan imigran asing yang menggunakan Indonesia sebagai tempat transit ke negara ketiga. "Kita bertekad akan membongkar habis sindikat itu," katanya di Istana Negara kemarin.

Menurut Yudhoyono, aparat keamanan telah memiliki bukti bahwa Provinsi Lampung dimanfaatkan sebagai tempat pemberangkatan imigran gelap menuju ke Australia itu. Menkopolkam mengemukakan baru-baru ini ia mengadakan pertemuan dengan pejabat di Lampung untuk menyelesaikan masalah tersebut.

Dan hasilnya terlihat dengan ditangkapnya Abu Quassey alias Abu Kaiz alias Centin Kaya Nagun (36). Rabu lalu Markas Besar Kepolisian mengemukakan bahwa Quassey diduga menjadi "gembong" penyelundupan manusia dari Timur Tengah (Timteng) ke Australia via Indonesia. Ia sedang menjalani pemeriksaan di Mabes Polri.

Pria asal Turki berkewarganegaraan Mesir itu dijerat dengan pasal 53 dan 54 UU No. 9/1992 tentang keimigrasian yaitu seseorang yang dengan sengaja memfasilitasi imigran gelap di Indonesia. Terhadap pelanggaran itu, Quassey diancam hukuman penjara enam tahun atau denda sebesar Rp 30 juta.

Abu Quassey ditangkap di Bandung pada hari Minggu (4 November 2001) oleh anggota Badan Intelijen dan Keamanan (Baintelkam) Mabes Polri. Ini berkaitan dengan peristiwa tenggelamnya kapal yang mengangkut 418 imigran gelap asal Irak, Iran, Palestina, Afghanistan, dan Aljazair di Laut Jawa pada 21 Oktober silam.

Peristiwa tragis yang menyebabkan Mimpi 418 imigran gelap asal Timur Tengah berakhir di perairan Samudra Hindia. Kapal yang mereka tumpangi tenggelam tak berbekas selain 44 orang yang diselamatkan kapal nelayan. Rombongan imigran dari Iran, Irak, dan Afghanistan itu mulanya berniat menuju Pulau Christmas, milik Australia. Apa boleh buat, kapal pun karam sebelum pertolongan datang. Samudra Hindia jadi kuburan kapal tak bernama itu.

Quassey diduga menjadi kordinator dari aksi penyelundupan tersebut. Nama Quassey juga disebut-sebut oleh beberapa imigran yang tertangkap di Pulau Rote. Quassey ini rupanya sudah terendus juga oleh aparat keamanan Australia. Beberapa media negeri itu menyebut Abu Quassey sebagai penyelundup yang bertanggungjawab dalam tragedi di Samudra Hindia tersebut. Karena itu pemerintah Australia meminta agar Quassey diekstradisi ke sana.

Menteri Luarnegeri Hassan Wirayudha pada waktu itu menyatakan belum bersedia mengekstradisi Abu Quassey seperti yang diminta Australia. Karena saat itu memang Quassey belum lagi tertangkap oleh aparat keamanan di Indonesia.

"Soal Abu Quassey itu kan masih informasi pendahuluan bahwa diduga ada seorang bernama si anu mengorganisir penyelundupan imigran ilegal, apa yang mau diekstradisi kalau kita belum menangkap, belum berada di tahanan kita," kata Hassan usai Penutupan Raker Deplu dengan Perwakilan RI di Luar Negeri pada Sabtu malam 28 Oktober itu.

Menurutnya, ekstradisi bisa dilakukan jika pelaku sudah ditangkap dan dipastikan sebagai pelaku kejahatan atau sudah menjalani proses peradilan. Menurut Wirayudha, antara Indonesia dan Australia memang sudah ada perjanjian ekstradisi yang dalam perjanjian itu disebutkan 32 jenis kejahatan yang pelakunya dapat diekstradisi, baik dari Indonesia ke Australia atau sebaliknya.

Namun, lanjut dia, pihaknya sudah menelusuri dalam perjanjian ekstradisi itu tidak mencakup imigran ilegal. "Tapi kalau Australia menganggap penyelundupan itu merupakan tindak ilegal dan kriminal, sebenarnya kami dengan senang hati kalau yang diekstradisi itu memang benar pelaku sindikatnya atau para imigran ilegal itu," katanya.

Ketika ditangkap polisi di Lembang, Jawa Barat, pada Minggu lalu Quassey hanya membawa identitas berupa surat bukti pendaftaran orang asing yang dikeluarkan Kantor Imigrasi Jakarta Selatan tertanggal 30 Agustus 2000. Ia tidak memiliki paspor.

Karena itu polisi terus memeriksa Abu Quassey. Kepala bidang penerangan umum Mabes Polri AKBP Prasetyo mengatakan, pria asal Turki berkewarganegaraan Mesir itu dijerat dengan pasal 53 dan 54 UU No. 9/1992 tentang keimigrasian yaitu seseorang yang dengan sengaja memfasilitasi imigran gelap di Indonesia.

Terhadap pelanggaran itu, Abu Quassey diancam hukuman penjara enam tahun atau denda sebesar Rp 30 juta.

Lalu soal ekstradisi? Menurut Prasetyo kemungkinan tidak bisa dilakukan dengan cepat. Karena Abu Quassey masih diperlukan Polri untuk membongkar jaringan penyelundupan manusia yang diduga digerakkannya. "Kalau belum apa-apa sudah diekstradisi, penyelidikan terhadap jaringan penyelundupan manusia di Indonesia bisa buyar," kata Pasetyo.

Perburuan Sindikat di Nusa Tenggara Timur

Perburuan terhadap sindikat juga dilakukan di Nusa Tenggara Timur. Provinsi paling dekat ke Australia ini biasa digunakan jadi gerbang menuju Pulau Pasir, Ashmore Reef, di sebelah selatan Pulau Rote. Selasa pekan lalu Polisi berhasil memergoki kapal bermesin tempel yang bertolak dari Probolinggo, Jawa Timur, yang disesaki 273 imigran di perairan Pulau Rote.

Mereka berniat menyeberang ke Pulau Pasir. Tapi, impian mereka kandas, karena petugas Kepolisian Daerah (Polda) NTT keburu menyergap mereka di Palape. Belakangan, Polda NTT memang rajin memblokade Rote dari serbuan imigran.

Menurut keterangan Kapolda NTT, Brigadir Jenderal Jacki Uly, ketika terpergok, kapal pengangkut imigran itu sempat mempercepat lajunya. Selama 10 jam terjadi kejar-mengejar. Baru setelah polisi mengeluarkan tembakan peringatan, kapten kapal itu menyerah. Para imigran gelap kini dikumpulkan di Sekolah Polisi Negara (SPN) Kupang.

Sebelumnya, di SPN Kupang telah diinapkan 243 pendatang gelap lain yang tertangkap 21 Oktober lalu. ''Dari semua imigran di SPN, 15 di antaranya muka-muka lama,'' kata Jacki Uly. Salah satunya adalah Hasan Ali Abdullah. Ia pernah ditangkap Polda NTT, Juli silam, lalu dikirim ke Jakarta. Rupanya ia kembali berniat menyelundup.

Namun dari mulut Ali Abdullah inilah polisi memperoleh titik terang untuk membongkar jaringan sindikat pengirim orang tersebut. Kepada petugas, pria 42 tahun itu menuturkan, ia bisa kabur dari lokasi penampungan di Jakarta berkat bantuan temannya, salah satu anggota sindikat Amanullah Reejai, alias Gamber, yang asal Pakistan.

Gamber, menurut Hasan Ali, punya hubungan dekat dengan pihak keamanan. ''Saat saya kabur, petugas tampak membiarkan,'' katanya. Gamber konon telah lama diincar polisi. Ia punya andalan Muhammad Ali, warga Afghanistan, yang memiliki empat anak buah yang mengatur pengiriman imigran dari Jawa Timur, Nusa Tenggara, dan Bali. Konon, empat orang itu adalah Anwar Sharaby, Ali Shadhat, Haji Syafar, dan Syaheed.

Siapa pun mereka, tampaknya mereka masih bebas berkeliaran di Jakarta. Anggota sindikat penyelundup manusia yang tertangkap boleh jadi baru Said Abdul Aziz, 34 tahun. Pria keturunan Arab-Flores itu kini tengah diadili, setelah ditangkap 2 September lalu.

Sindikat-sindikat pengirim manusia ini memang banyak akal. Mereka punya banyak jalur untuk menyeberang ke Australia. Selain Rote, mereka misalnya bisa mencapai Australia lewat Pulau Sangeang, 71 kilometer timur laut Bima, Pulau Sumbawa, Nusa Tenggara Barat. Pekan lalu, 170 imigran gelap ditemukan terdampar di sana setelah mesin kapal pengangkut mereka rusak.

Menangkap tokoh utama sindikat ini tak mudah. Kepala Bagian Hubungan Masyarakat Markas Besar Polri, Brigadir Jenderal Saleh Saaf, mengatakan bahwa pihaknya sudah membentuk tiga tim khusus yang dipimpin polisi berpangkat brigadir jenderal. Tiga tim itu diterjunkan ke sejumlah tempat penampungan untuk mengintai orang- orang yang dicurigai sebagai bos sindikat.

Tapi, hingga pekan lalu itu, orang-orang yang dicurigai belum ada yang diperiksa atau dikenai status tersangka. ''Informasi mengenai adanya orang bernama Abu Quassey itu, misalnya, masih perlu diteliti cermat,'' kata Saleh Saaf saat itu. Namun kemudian polisi berhasil menangkap Quassey dan Brigadir Agus Safuan. Agus diduga ikut mengawal para imigran itu dari sebuah penampungan di daerah Puncak, Jawa Barat hingga ke Lampung. Dari sanalah para imigran itu naik kapal yang akan membawa mereka ke Pulau Chrismast.

Brigadir Agus Safuan, anggota Kepolisian Sektor Lembang ini masih terus diusut. "Belum bisa dipastikan apakah ia terlibat atas kemauan sendiri atau atas perintah," kata Prasetyo. Kalau benar tekad Menkopolsoskam Yudhoyono, maka jaringan yang melibatkan Brigadir Agus ini nampaknya tidak bisa lagi ongkang-ongkang kaki. Karena pemerintah nampaknya tidak akan memberi ampun.

Karena bagaimanapun, masalah imigran gelap jika dibiarkan ini jelas akan membebani pemerintah. Sebab, menurut Kemala Anggraini Ahwil, External Relations Officer Komisi Tinggi PBB untuk Urusan Pengungsi (UNHCR), hanya 35% imigran gelap yang ditangkap polisi yang memenuhi persyaratan sebagai pengungsi.

''Selebihnya imigran ilegal. Mereka urusan pemerintah, bukan UNHCR,'' katanya. Richard Danziger, Kepala Liaison Office International Organization of Migrants, juga tak mau repot mengurusi imigran itu. ''Jika polisi dan petugas imigrasi memberi rekomendasi, baru kami membantu,'' katanya kepada Asmayani Kusrini dari GATRA. Sampai kapan semua ini dibiarkan?

Dani Hamdani, Aries Kelana, dan Antonius Un Taolin (Kupang) [Nasional Gatra Nomor 51 Beredar 5 November 2001]


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