30 Jun 2008

Torture in West Papua

Indonesian Police and Military officers

torture West Papuan government official

from Puncak Jaya

"Anton was … beaten from the front and back [by Indonesian police and soldiers] until he fell down. They stamped on his body with their jack boots and then beat him.”

Cenderawasih Post, [West Papua]

27 June 2008

PUNCAK JAYA – A bad day for Anton Asse (28 years old), a government official from the information and communication department, Puncak Jaya Regent’s Office. He was tortured by a police officer in Tingginambut on Wednesday (25/6/08).

The torture caused injury on his face and bruises on his right eye. He was beaten so hard that the back of his neck was painful and his head was dizzy. He was immediately taken to Mulia regional hospital to get medical treatment.

Anton told Cenderawasih Pos that at that time he was driving a government car (L200) with a red placard number DS 5796 AD (red placard is the special Indonesian sign for any vehicles that belong to the state government). Two government officials and a reserved driver were with him from Wamena to Mulia. They had just attended an inaugural ceremony of 5 new regencies and 5 new regents in Wamena.

The vehicle was moving at low speed as they entered Tingginambut district. When they passed Tingginambut police post, Anton saluted a police officer who was standing in front of the police post by waving his hand. It is a normal thing that Anton always does every time he passes the police post.

After passing the police post Anton increased the speed of the car because he wanted to reach Puncak Senyum before it got dark and foggy which could decrease his vision on the road.

About 1 km after leaving the police post, Anton saw a motorbike chasing them from behind. The motorbike rider was a police officer. Anton stopped the car. The police officer questioned why the three did not report to the police post. He had called them three times to stop but they didn’t. Anton said that he did not hear any calling. As soon as Anton said that, the police officer immediately beat Anton in his face. He beat Anton twice.

"I was beaten twice when I was still inside the car”, he said.

Dr Hendrik Bilangla’bi, head of information department, Puncak Jaya Regent’s office, who saw the incident himself, acknowledged that Anton’s statement was true. He said, “The police (who tortured Anton) ordered us to return to Tingginambut Police post to report.

They therefore returned to the police post. Upon arrival at the police post, Hendrik and Anton got out from the car, but the police officer began to beat Anton in the face again. Anton ran to the back of the car. Hendrik said, “I wanted to prevent and try to reduce the police officer’s emotions so I said ‘That’s enough’ but the police officer threatened to beat me as well so I just kept quiet”.

Inside the police post Anton was beaten by 5 people; 3 police officers and 2 Indonesian military personnel from battalion 756/WMS.

'Anton was standing. He beaten from the front and back [by Indonesian police and soldiers] until he fell down. They stamped on his body with their jack boots and then beat him.” Hendrik said.

He said that this behaviour is disgraceful. A police officer’s job is to protect and respect the people not to disobey the law. He further added, 'If we did something wrong, the police officer should question us wisely and tell us what we have done wrong. He should not justify himself by punishing us”. (nal)

Richard Samuelson
Free West Papua Campaign, Oxford, UK.

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