Hasan Tiro had requested his Indonesian citizenship be restored, stressing that “the war is now over” and “I want to live peacefully in my native homeland in Aceh.”
Citizenship was granted yesterday, 2 June, in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, from the hands of Irwandi Yusuf, Aceh governor and former GAM military chief, who handed the papers to Malik Mahmud, one of Hasan Tiro’s closest aide and a former GAM prime minister, and to Fauzi Abidin, a close friend of the Tiro family.
“Granting the citizenship was decided for humanitarian reasons and the much improved political situation in Aceh,” a government official said in Jakarta.
Malik Mahmud, who spent many years in exile in Sweden, said that he was happy that citizenship was granted because “it would strengthen the path of peace” in the Aceh.
Hasan Tiro set foot on his native soil in October 2008, after almost 30 years of exile, receiving a hero’s welcome. He had fled to Sweden on 29 March 1979.
Indonesia’s former Public Enemy Number One was able to come home on the invitation of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
On 4 November 1976, he declared the independence of Aceh province, unleashing a bloody civil war between the Indonesian armed forces and the rebels, which ended only in 2005 with the signing of a “truce” between the central government and rebel leaders, Hasan Tiro and Malik Mahmud.
The signing ceremony took place on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki, Finland.