Indonesia: Maluku political prisioners torturedEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 1, 2010
- Event Description
A leading human rights organization says its investigations found that political prisoners in Maluku have been tortured by police officers and soldiers. Haris Azhar, chairman of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said interviews with 23 political prisoners, members of the separatist group South Maluku Republic (RMS), showed they had been tortured. "They kick them, punch their faces, with or without weapons such as iron bars. Sometimes the prisoners are blindfolded," he said. "They even forced two political prisoners to kiss. When they refused to, they were beaten." Haris said 17 of the prisoners had been arrested without a warrant. "That makes it an unlawful arrest," he said. Haris said the perpetrators were members of the elite police counterterrorism unit Densus 88 and local police officers. He identified the attackers as a Densus duty officer, four Densus investigators, the head of the monitoring division of a local patrol and crowd control unit, the head of a detachment of the Maluku Police, an officer from the Ambon and Lease Islands Police, and an officer from the Saparua Police. Saparua is a city near the provincial capital, Ambon. "We also discovered that some of the perpetrators were not from the police," Haris said. "There was a member of the Armed Forces from Saparua subdiscrict and the subdistrict head of Saparua." "We want Irwasum[the police General Oversight Inspectorate] and Propam[Bureau of Professionalism and Security Affairs] to investigate the misuse of power by the Maluku Police." The torture allegations first surfaced in mid-September after the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper ran statements from seven of the alleged separatists. A day later, Yusuf Sipakoly, 52, who was jailed for 12 years for treason for helping unfurl a banned RMS flag during a visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Ambon in 2007, died. Yusuf's family and rights activists said he was severely beaten and denied medical treatment despite his failing health and need for dialysis. The National Police denied the allegations, but a few days later it sent a team to Ambon to investigate the claims. But Semuel Wailaruny, from the Maluku People's Advocacy Team, which has been working closely with the political prisoners, said the police team did not even meet his group, as planned. "They are not carrying out an objective investigation. They didn't even ask us about what was going on with the prisoners," Semuel said. He said one of the prisoners, Yonias Siahaya, was left paralyzed after he was beaten by members of the counterterrorism squad. "The doctor said he will be paralyzed for the rest of his life," Semuel said. "But he is still handcuffed in the hospital bed." He said Yonias had been blindfolded while the Densus 88 officers beat him and "now he could not talk." The officers reportedly tried to cover up the incident by telling Yonias's family that he had lung disease, even though he had never had lung problems before. The Jakarta Globe contacted National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Iskandar Hasan on Friday, but he declined to comment.
- Impact of Event
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Arrest and detention ~
- Rights Concerned
- Right to political participation
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
A leading human rights organization says its investigations found that political prisoners in Maluku have been tortured by police officers and soldiers.