Aceh: Din Minimi Seeks Normal Life But Faces Potential Criminal Charges

Nurdin Hasan
160106-ID-dinminimi-620 A relatives welcomes Nurdin bin Ismail Amat (alias Din Minimi) in Ladang Baro, East Aceh, after his surrender, Dec. 29, 2015.

The leader of a militant group in Aceh says he wants to live in peace as a commoner now that he and about 120 of his men have surrendered.

But Nurdin bin Ismail Amat, who is widely known by the alias Din Minimi, may not be immune from prosecution by local authorities for alleged crimes committed by his group, although the Indonesian central government had guaranteed amnesties for him and his men in exchange for their surrender on Dec. 29.

“I just want a quiet life. I also want to help people who need my help,” Din told BenarNews in a phone interview Wednesday.

“But I don’t think I will go into politics because I did not finish school,” he said.

The interview occurred a day after Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reiterated his government’s promises to Minimi and his group for turning themselves in and putting down their weapons.

“We will grant him an amnesty for sure,” Jokowi said during a Tuesday cabinet meeting on human rights, Indonesian news website reported.

Din, however,  is expected to go through the legal process and potentially face criminal charges, despite Jokowi’s guarantee of amnesty. Aceh police said they would file charges against Din and his men for their alleged roles in more than a dozen crimes committed in the province.

Din and his men surrendered to the chief of National Intelligence Agency (BIN), Sutiyoso, after years of leading his band of fighters in opposition to the provincial government. He also handed over 15 firearms and ammunition to Sutiyoso.

At the time of his surrender, Din requested amnesty for members of his group as well as all former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) combatant. He also demanded that the provincial administration guarantee the welfare of orphans, widows of GAM veterans and victims of Aceh’s three-decade-long conflict.

GAM fought a separatist insurgency against the Indonesian government, which ended with the signing of a peace accord in Helsinki in 2005. In addition, Din demanded that the Corruption Eradication Commission investigate cases of alleged corruption in Aceh’s government.

Last year, Din told BenarNews in a separate interview that his group was fighting corruption in the provincial government, which is led by ex-GAM rebels.

‘Maybe I’ll do farming’

Now back home with his family in East Aceh regency, Din has received many visitors ranging from commoners to politicians, including former Aceh Gov. Irwandi Yusuf.

Din said that he would like to get back to work, although he is not sure how he would support his mother, wife and three children.

“Maybe I’ll do farming or drive heavy equipment as I did before,” he said, adding that his members worked as fishermen or farmers.

Aceh Provincial Police Chief  Husein Hamidi, however, has vowed to bring Din and his group to justice, even though they have surrendered.

On Dec. 31, the police chief blamed Din and his group for 14 criminal cases in the North Aceh and East Aceh districts  in the last three years.

“We will process him and his members  legally  in accordance with the applicable laws,” the chief said, but without saying when the process might begin.

Din denied any role in the crimes including kidnapping, extortion, arson, as well as the killing of two military intelligence officers in North Aceh on March 24, 2015.

The former militant leader asked if he should sue the police for having shot and killed his men.

“I already handed over all weapons. What else do they expect?  If they want to arrest me, please. But I kept my promise to Sutiyoso,” Din said.

In December, Sutiyoso told BenarNews that  he would ensure the safety of Din and his men after their surrender.

Calls for Din’s prosecution

Two of the people behind the push to bring charges against Din and his followers are the director of Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Banda Aceh, Mustiqal Syahputra, and the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence Aceh, Hendra Saputra.

“Giving amnesty to a person who allegedly is behind  14 criminal offenses is tendentious and really should be re-examined,” Mustiqal said.

He said group members had been tried and sentenced to five years in prison. Their trials revealed that they had committed the crimes on Din’s orders.

“Din Minimi should be prosecuted because he is still on the Aceh police’s list of wanted people for his alleged crimes,” Hendra told BenarNews.


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