June 8, 2012
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of 42 prisoners and detainees by prison guards at Abepura Correctional Facility on 30 April 2012 following an argument between one of the detainees, Selfius Bobii, and the Head of the Abepura Correctional Facility (Abepura Kalapas). The prisoners were beaten, kicked, hit with wood blocks as well as iron sticks and some of them were trampled by the prison guards. Their personal items were taken away and burned. The torture and property destruction took place under the order of the Abepura Kalapas.
According to several local NGOs such as The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violance in Papua (KontraS Papua), Sekretariat Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua, Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua) and Elsham Papua, around 12pm on 30 April 2012, the prison guards at Class II.A of the Abepura Correctional Facility were going to put back and lock the detainees and prisoners in their cell. Amongst them was Selfius Bobii who was detained and received punishment for his involvement in the Third Papuan Congress in October 2011. Selfius had asked the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit (KPLP), Juwaini, for a permit to hold a creative activity with other prisoners but his request was dismissed by the KPLP. This led to an argument between him and the Abepura Kalapas, Liberti Sitinjak, who heard the conversation of Selfius and one of his staffs.
The argument between Selfius and the Kalapas ended with an order from the Kalapas to the prison guards to put Selfius into isolation. Selfius avoided the prison guards and insisted that he should not be isolated as he has not done anything wrong.
Other prisoners who were at their cell witnessed this and they also yelled at the prison guards asking them to put Selfius back to his cell instead of to the isolation. Their requests were ignored and the prison guards put Selfius in an isolated area. The prison guards later went back to the cells where the prisoners were yelling. The guards were offended with what the prisoners said so they took them out of their cell and beat, kicked and hit them with fists, wood blocks and iron sticks. The prisoners were also whipped with thick ropes supposed to use for controlling cows. They were also dragged to the yard in front of the block and were asked to walk whilst they were crouching for about 200 metres. As they were doing this, the guards kept beating and kicking them. The guards stepped on some of the prisoners and detainees’ fingers and toes. The guards also kept saying to the prisoners ‘you are all stupid, that is why you ended up here’. The torture and ill-treatment took place for about two and a half hours, approximately from 12.30-3.15pm. There were 41 prisoners in total who were treated this way by twenty prison guards. Two prisoners Hendrik Kenelak and Otto Ikinia fainted and one, Parmen Wenda, had his arm broken.
Before the prison guards put the prisoners back to their cell, the Kalapas asked them to search the cells and took away their personal belongings and later burned them. Selfius was brought to the Papua Regional Police Station and was questioned. He did not receive any ill-treatment whilst he was there and was later sent back to Abepura Correctional Facility on 3 May 2012.
Principle 6 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment explicitly prohibits the use of torture and ill-treatment against persons whose liberty are deprived. The principle also emphasises that no reason can be used to justify any state officials to conduct torture and ill-treat prisoners. These principles are in accordance with the provisions under the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT) to which Indonesia is a state party since 1998. Yet although Indonesia has ratified the UN CAT, torture itself has yet to be criminalised in Indonesia in order to end the ongoing practice. For this reason, at the first and second Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council’s session on Indonesia, several countries urged the Indonesian government to criminalise torture and to reform its Penal Code in accordance with its international human rights obligations.
The absence of articles making torture a punishable crime in Indonesia contributes to the low investigation rate seen in torture cases in Indonesian criminal procedure. Torture is often deemed merely as a violation to disciplines for which, in the majority of cases, the perpetrators received inadequate or no punishment. Military officers who tortured several Papuans in 2010 as shown in a video distributed on the internet, for instance, were sent only to 8 to 10 month imprisonment for disobedience but have not been held accountable for the torture they committed.
- Selpius Bobii disappeared briefly by prison authorities objecting to music rehersal (westpapuamedia.info)
- Prison warders beat and kick more than forty prisoners (westpapuamedia.info)
- Prison guards caught having “inappropriate relationships” with inmates (telegraph.co.uk)
- Filep Karma referred to Jakarta hospital with a suspected colonic tumour: NKRI refuses to pay (westpapuamedia.info)
- Amnesty International: Prisoner’s Medical Treatment Prevented (westpapuamedia.info)