15 Papuans mistreated and tortured by army and police

17 Sep 2011

TAPOL strongly condemns the use of violence and torture against Papuan detainees

A report has been released following a joint investigation into the mistreatment and torture of a group of 15 Papuans in connection with two criminal incidents that occurred recently in West Papua. The report, published by Papuan church leaders, the NGO network Foker and the Papua Human Rights Commission, states that 15 Papuans were arrested in Jayapura on 31 August and were mistreated and tortured for nine hours by a joint force of military and police. They were reportedly beaten with rifle butts, punched, kicked in the stomach with army boots and subjected to continual verbal abuse in an attempt to force them to confess to the as yet unsolved murders at Nafri and Skyline in Jayapura.

One of the men said he had been threatened with death if he failed to confess to owning items including a bullet and some documents which he said he had not seen before, and another was reportedly tortured until he confessed to the murders and named another of the men as his accomplice. During police interrogation, the two were threatened with death if they did not confess to the crimes. They were then charged with the murders and remain in detention.

After the remaining thirteen men were released, they said that they had also been forced to lie on their backs on the ground facing the blazing sun for seven hours. They further commented that they felt as though they were being treated like cattle. They were deprived of water and food for lengthy periods while being beaten and tortured and no attention was paid to the injuries and bruises that they suffered during their ordeal. They said that they were weak and in some cases fell ill as a result of their treatment but were denied access to a toilet and ordered to urinate and defecate out in the open.

Apart from the appalling treatment to which they were reportedly subjected, the detainees were arrested without arrest warrants and during their interrogation, they were not accompanied by lawyers despite the associated requirement for persons in detention when they are given notice that they are about to be questioned.

Moreover, according to legal requirements they should have been released within 24 hours, a binding requirement for persons who are held without being charged for any crime. They were in fact held for 27 hours.

TAPOL strongly condemns the atrocious treatment of these Papuans. We call on Komnas HAM, the National Human Rights Commission, to conduct an investigation into the treatment of these Papuan detainees. TAPOL also calls on the Minister of Justice and Human Rights to call to account all those persons who were responsible for using extreme violence and torture against this group of men.

The government of Indonesia should make it absolutely clear that all persons who work for government agencies within the military and the police, including those which were involved in the detention and mistreatment of these fifteen men should at all times treat persons being held in detention without resorting to violence and torture and should be instructed to refrain from using such methods or face dismissal if they do so.