11 December 2012
INDONESIA: A Papuan was tortured on the unreasonable allegation of engagement with separatist group
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention; inhuman and degrading treatment; police violence; torture
*The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to inform you of the case regarding the torture of a Papuan in Mimika, Papua. The victim was arrested by officers from the Mimika Sub-District Police wearing civilian clothes without any warrant. The police randomly accused him for being involved in the separatist movement organised by Free Papua Organisation (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM). As result of the torture, the victim was severely injured and could not walk for four days.
According to the information from the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (JPIC GKI), Frengki Uamang was visiting a church and about to buy mineral water from a local shop on 27 November 2012 when a silver-painted car approached him at 11am. Two unidentified men wearing civilian clothes came out the car and arrested Frengki. One of the men told him that he was a police officer.
Frengki was taken in the car to a place located about 20 metres away from the church and asked for the reason of his visit to the church. Frengki explained that he was attending a religious event at the church but the police instantly told him ‘don’t lie to us. You want to buy weapons, so don’t lie to us!’
The police later took Frengki to Kwamki Baru Sub-District Police at 11.45 where he was interrogated and accused of committing various actions, one of which was providing food for the military members of OPM. During the interrogation, the police tortured Frengki for approximately four hours. Frengki was kicked by police officers wearing boots and he had his head, ears, face and chin kicked and beaten. The police also hit Frengki on his chest, legs and tights which resulted in him not being able to walk for four days.
At 3.30pm on the same day, the police took Frengki out of the police station and drove him to Irrigation Street in Mimika. In addition to the car that was taking him, another car full of police officers was also following. In total there were about 10-12 police officers came to Irrigation Street with Frengki. The police asked Frengki to show them two houses where OPM’s military members were allegedly hiding in. Frengki told the police officers that he himself is only a visitor to Mimika and he has no idea of what houses they were talking about, yet the police insisted on taking him to Irrigation Street.
On their way to the Irrigation Street, the police again tortured Frengki. The police officers pulled his fingernails using pliers. As they arrived at the Irrigation Street, the police took Frengki to a plantation area. Frengki was asked to slither on his stomach while his hands were handcuffed. Three police officers pointed their guns at Frengki and asked him to pray. One of them told Frengki, ‘you killed my fellow police officers. You are a member of OPM’s military. You’re obviously from Kali Kopi’. Kali Kopi is one of the headquarters of OPM’s military.
As the three officers were pointing their guns at Frengki and he himself was praying, the rest police officers coming with Frengki randomly opened fire towards the trees, creating the impression that they were in crossfire against the OPM’s military members. Out of nowhere, one of the police officers took Frengki to Mimika Sub-District Police. Frengki was again interrogated, yet this time the police asked him of his link to the shooting that took place in the area owned by PT Freeport, an American gold mine company. Frengki was detained at the police station for one night, his hands and legs were chained to a table in the police’s cell.
The next day at around 2pm, Frengki was released by the police. He was not able to walk so a police officer took him to Immigration Street where Frengki was staying.
As of today, torture is yet to be criminalised in Indonesia and the legal proceeding on such abuse is far from independent. Due to the absence of law criminalising torture, state officials who committed it are usually charged with provisions concerning physical assault which is not in accordance with the definition of ‘torture’ stipulated in the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT). As the physical assault article under the Penal Code only carries a maximum punishment of two years and eight months imprisonment, those who committed torture are sent to light punishment, if they were punished at all.
In addition to the absence of law criminalising torture, the unavailability of independent legal mechanism to investigate torture allegation has aggravated the problem. For a criminal proceeding on torture allegation to take place, the victims need to submit a criminal complaint to the police whereas it’s actually the police themselves or their colleague who committed the abuse. As a result, most of torture complaints are not followed up and criminally investigated by the police. Torture victims may also submit a complaint to the monitoring mechanism within the police called the Professionalism and Security Division (Propam). Yet this mechanism is not transparent and only has the power to impose disciplinary punishment to police officers practising torture.
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