The Escape Artist

RYAN TARUMANEGARA/REUTERS

FREE: Irwandi, once jailed as a rebel, says he has forgiven his torturers but will never forget

In may 2003, while I was reporting on the civil war then raging in the Indonesian province of Aceh, rebels of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (G.A.M.) opened fire on a car carrying me and three colleagues, almost killing us. Afterwards, furious, I called and text messaged my G.A.M. contact, code-named "Iskander," to tell him to get his trigger-happy men to stand down. Iskander's role as a G.A.M. operative was secret—until I unwittingly blew his cover that day. When I called, he was being questioned by the police, who saw my incriminating messages arrive on his phone. Iskander was arrested and...

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