TAPOL calls for torture enquiry

19 Oct 2010

Dear Mr. Hague,

We have just learnt of an incident involving two Papuan men who were reportedly subjected to very serious acts of torture while being interrogated in the region of Puncak Jaya in West Papua by two or more men who appear to be members of the Indonesian security forces.

The incident, which appears to have occurred earlier this year, was recorded on a mobile phone by an individual who was on the spot and circulated widely on YouTube four days ago. The video has since been removed by YouTube, according to yesterday’s issue of The Jakarta Post, ‘because of its shocking and disgusting content’.

Monday’s edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, which reported the incident at length after having obtained a copy, describes one of the men under interrogation as having been stripped naked and bound, with one of the interrogators placing his foot on the man’s chest, while a colleague administers the torture with a stick that has been burnt and is smoldering, causing the man to scream in agony.

This incident is clearly a grave violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which Indonesia signed in 1985 and subsequently ratified in 1988.

In view of the extreme seriousness of this incident and the light it sheds on alleged actions by members of the Indonesian security forces, TAPOL urges the British Government to make immediate representations to the Indonesian Government for an investigation to be conducted by independent experts in order to verify the accuracy of this report.

We in TAPOL are well aware that the British embassy in Jakarta regularly follows the situation in West Papua which means that our Government is well placed to seek the cooperation of the Indonesian authorities in matters of this nature.

We believe that action by our Government is bound to be taken seriously by the Indonesian Government and will impress upon them the need to conduct an immediate investigation. If the incident is confirmed, the men responsible for these acts of torture should be called to account and should be severely punished.

Finally we urge the UK Government to suspend all forms of military cooperation with the Indonesian security forces until there is full accountability for this incident. We would be grateful if you could let us know the current extent of such cooperation and the action you propose to take.

Yours sincerely

Carmel Budiardjo