The Keys to the Escape

A prison guard made three duplicate keys for Gunawan Santosa, allowing him to escape. The guard is now out of a job.

Yielding to temptation caused Wahyudin, 31, to lose his job. It also put him behind bars. Thanks to the help offered by Wahyudin in May 2006, Gunawan Santosa was able to find a way out of Cipinang Prison, a special facility for narcotics cases. Wahyudin gave Santosa a number of duplicate keys, which this death-row inmate then used to escape from a maximum-security facility.

Wahyudin is now behind bars in a prison at Tangerang, where he inhabits a 3 x 4-meter cell. “He is serving his prison sentence,” said Gusti Tamardjaya, head of the Correctional Facilities Division of the Jakarta Office of the Justice & Human Rights Department, on Monday last week, speaking to Tempo.

According to the police, Wahyudin gave three duplicate keys to Santosa, which he used to open a number of doors and escape from his cell in Block C. Santosa headed for the gate of the main building, then entered and passed through the visiting room, before finally exiting through the door at the gate.

Wahyudin became a willing party after Santosa promised him a certain amount of money. For the first installment, for instance, he received Rp2.5 million. Another promise was that, “a telephone service store and a pool hall would be built for him,” said Sr. Comr. I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana, head of Public Relations for the Jakarta Police.

Four days after Santosa escaped, Wahyudin was arrested, questioned by police, and named a suspect. He was charged under the laws on bribery and helping an inmate escape from prison. Wahyudin was detained by the Jakarta Police until he was sentenced by the East Jakarta District Court and sent to Tangerang Prison.

Unlike his associates—most of whom are only high school graduates—Wahyudin, the third of four siblings, was a graduate of the Law Faculty of August 17 University. Wahyudin is actually familiar with prisons. His father, Yamin, used to work at the I-A Class Youth Prison in Tangerang. From their childhood, Wahyudin and his three siblings lived at an official residence of the Justice Department on Jalan Taman Makam Pahlawan Taruna, Suka Asih district, in the City of Tangerang. He often listened to tales of prison life from his father, who is now retired.

Speaking to Tempo, Cipinang Prison Warden, Wibowo Djoko Harjono, said he regretted the report that Wahyudin had not been punished and that he had only been transferred to work as a guard in Balikpapan, Kalimantan. “He has received a fitting punishment,” said Harjono. “The news that he was transferred is untrue.”

Wahyudin is not the only one to suffer as a result of Santosa’s escape from Cipinang Prison. Two others were Cipinang Prison Warden, Wawan Suwandi, and head of security Taufikurrahman. Hamid Awaluddin, the Minister of Justice & Human Rights at that time, fired Suwandi and called up Wibowo Djoko Harjono, who at that time was the head of the Class 1 State Holding Facility in Surabaya, to replace Suwandi.

Taufikurrahman was replaced by Lilik Sujandi, who previously was the head of the Class I Detention Facility in Salemba. “These replacements are meant to improve conditions at the Narcotics Prison,” said Mardjaman, Director-General of Correctional Facilities at the time.

Despite losing their positions, however, Wawan Suwandi and Taufikurrahman fared much better than Wahyudin. No criminal charges were ever brought against them.

Abdul Manan, Ayu Cipta, Zaky Almubarok

Tempo Magazine, No. 48/VII/July 31 - August 06, 2007


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