Prabowo’s campaign promises to provide legal aid to retired general accused of assassination plot

Yesterday, Indonesia’s National Police held a news conference in which they offered a plethora of new information regarding the alleged plot to assassinate several senior government officials around the time of the post-election riots in Jakarta on May 21-22, including video testimony from several suspects naming retired major general Kivlan Zen, a vocal supporter of failed presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, the mastermind behind the plot.

Despite the shocking allegation and the police’s seemingly solid evidence for it, a spokesperson for Prabowo’s campaign said that they would still provide legal assistance to Kivlan, who was officially named a treason suspect (for the second time) late last month, as well as Soenarko, another former military commander who has been charged with weapon smuggling in relation to the alleged assassination plot.

“Of course, we will provide legal assistance. God willing, in the near future [Gerindra deputy chairman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad] will meet with Kivlan and Soenarko to discuss guarantees. In essence, God willing, for those figures who have already helped Pak Prabowo, of course, his campaign will help them with the legal process,” Prabowo campaign spokesman Andre Rosiade told the media yesterday.

Despite classifying him as a person who had “already helped Pak Prabowo”, Andre denied that Kivlan had any connection to Prabowo’s campaign and also strongly denied that the campaign had any knowledge whatsoever about the alleged assassination plot.

Yesterday’s news conference featured video testimony from three of the six suspects who were arrested last month for their alleged role in the murder plot. In the video, they said Kivlan had promised them money (and, in one case, a family vacation) to assassinate four senior government officials: Chief Security Minister Wiranto, BIN chief Budi Gunawan, President Joko Widodo’s intelligence and security advisor Gories Mere, and cabinet minister Luhut Pandjaitan.

One key piece of evidence police have against Kivlan is proof that he had given 15,000 Singaporean Dollars (IDR 156 million) to one of the suspects in March. The retired general’s lawyer acknowledged the payment but claimed it had been meant to fund a peacefully rally in commemoration of The Supersemar — the Indonesian abbreviation for ‘Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret’ (Order of Eleventh March), the document signed by President Sukarno on March 11, 1966, giving then army commander Lt. Gen. Suharto the authority to take whatever measures he “deemed necessary” to restore order following the chaos caused by the mass killings of 1965–66.

Beyond that, Kivlan’s lawyer has denied any involvement or knowledge of the alleged assassination plot.

Kivlan — who once served as two-time losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s adjutant in Kostrad (The Army Strategic Command) before retiring as the corps chief of staff — was first reported to the National Police for treason and spreading fake news in early May. He was subsequently blocked from leaving the country and interrogated by police for 14 hours on May 13.

Police say Kivlan’s treason case is related to that of Eggi Sudjana, a Prabowo ally closely aligned with the 212 Islamist movement and National Mandate Party (PAN) politician. Eggi was arrested by police on May 14.

This isn’t the first time Kivlan has been arrested for treason. In 2016, shortly before the infamous 212 rally against then-governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on December 2, he was one of eight people arrested for allegedly trying to plot a coup attempt against the government, using the unrest of the 212 rally as cover (sound familiar?). However, the charges were later dropped.

Kivlan is a far-right figure known for his vehement anti-Communist paranoia, which includes supporting Islamist attacks on the elderly survivors of Indonesia’s 1965 mass killings.

Our primary mission at Coconuts is to inform and entertain our audience. To do that, we need the support of our readers. If you read Coconuts often, perhaps you might consider joining our COCO+ Membership program? You’ll be supporting local news and joining a community of like-minded individuals across Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and beyond. And in addition to unlimited Coconuts content, you’ll get an ad-free experience, exclusive giveaways and discounts, free access to events, and a stylish tote bag. Become a COCO+ Member for less than US$1 per week. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

MOST POPULAR