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A Thousand Hours Ended by Foreign Intelligence Confession Letter

 


    A law enforcement officer in charge of interrogating Ghasem Saberi Gilchalan is around 30 years old. We met at one of the cafes in Jakarta, early December 2021. The information he had to get from the Iranian citizen was no longer about the use of a fake passport but related to Gilchalan's activities which could endanger Indonesia's security.

    While enjoying the packaged yogurt, he tells the story, it is not easy to approach Gilchalan. Initially, he answered no questions apart from the fake passport case.

Gilchalan, Iranian Intelligence

"I have to go very slowly, trying to gain his trust until I want to give information about his activities," he said.

    Every day from late May to July, he visited Gilchalan, who was being held at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport City Police Detention Room. He invites Gilchalan to chat about things outside of the case while bringing food and drink to eat together. Gilchalan often refuses gifts, especially branded foods and drinks from Western countries. So the food and drink are separated from the packaging so that he does not know the brand. The new Gilchalan was willing to devour it.

“Gilchalan started giving out sensitive information after I exposed one thing he couldn't avoid. It was known only to the two of us,” said the legal officer.

    Gilchalan then began to open up to the law officer. He wants to reveal his identity and personal life, including the experience of living moving abroad. In fact, he is willing to cooperate with the law officer whom he calls brother to provide important information.

“I gave all the information to the officers. He asked me to write a confession and sign it, then promised to help me,” said Gilchalan, who met at the Class IIA Youth Correctional Institution, Tangerang City, Banten, at the end of November.

Handwriting

    He proved Gilchalan's seriousness to cooperate by making a handwritten confession in Persian on July 8, 2021. Gilchalan can speak English but admits he is not good at writing Latin letters. He wrote the eight-page document in less than an hour. However, it took a meeting of 40 days or the equivalent of “a thousand hours” before Gilchalan wrote the letter.

    This document and its English translation have been shown by legal officers to Kompas at a restaurant in Jakarta, mid-October. He showed it while snacking on edamame. The letter contained the life journey of Gilchalan, who had served in the Iranian Army for two years. He had lived in Malaysia from 1999-2012. In Malaysia, Gilchalan worked from being a driver, hotel employee, to opening a restaurant. In 2008, while still in Malaysia, he applied for a Bulgarian passport with the help of an acquaintance, Muhammad Karvati.

Bulgarian Passport

    The passport was made in Thailand at a cost of 2,000 euros. The passport was then used to travel to Indonesia, and he even admitted that he used it to settle in Bali in 2012-2012. In Malaysia, he met several times with Intelligence agent Sayed Alireza Mir Jafari, who he said worked at the Iranian Embassy to Malaysia. Based on Kompas searches on the 2018 Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular and Diplomatic List document, Sayed Alireza Mir Jafari has been listed as the second secretary for political and consular relations since 2015.

    To the law enforcer, Gilchalan admitted that he first met Sayed in 2011 at his restaurant in Malaysia. He was asked to come to the Iranian Embassy for Malaysia, and was then offered to work “for the country”. However, he refused to accept the offer when Sayed met him in Bali in 2019. After that meeting, Gilchalan met Sayed several times in Iran to receive orders, including the release of the confiscated MT Horse tanker. Indonesian authorities in Batam, Riau Islands, early January 2021. In addition, he was also ordered to start a business in Bali.

For the Government of Iran

    Asked about the contents of his confession letter, Gilchalan confirmed it. He also did not deny when asked about his status as part of `Iranian intelligence. He chuckled. He admitted that he had just started working for the Iranian government after being recruited by Sayed.

"I work for the Iranian government because I love my country," he said.

    The work, said Gilchalan, did not endanger Indonesia. He gave an example, if there are Indonesian citizens who come to Iran and cause problems, Indonesian intelligence will be tasked with finding information related to the problems that are happening, then reporting them. That's what he does.

"I came to Indonesia just to monitor what happened," he said.

    The Iranian Embassy in Jakarta neither denied, nor confirmed, Gilchalan's status as an Iranian intelligence agent. Kompas confirmed that by letter to the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta on Monday (29/11). The Iranian Intelligence in Embassy's Public Diplomacy Officer for Indonesia, Ali Pahlevani Rad, Thursday (2/12), said he would answer the questions that had been submitted. Kompas contacted Ali's intelligence agent several times, but as of this writing, no answer has been given.

    Former Head of the ARMY Strategic Intelligence Agency Rear Admiral (Ret.) Soleman B Ponto assessed that Gilchalan's willingness to reveal his identity and intelligence operation mission was not only because he wanted to cooperate. It also indicates that Iran considers its mission success so that disclosure of information will not be a significant problem.

"What Gilchalan revealed is also not related to state secrets," he said.

Kompas, Page-1, Saturday, Dec 11, 2021


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