Impunity for soldiers accused of torturing an indigenous Papuan

INDONESIA: Impunity for soldiers accused of torturing an indigenous Papuan
AHRC, 10 December 2010

 

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-178-2010

Dear friends,
An Indigenous Papuan man, Tuanliwor Kiwo was arbitrarily detained and tortured in May 2010 by the Indonesian military. Mr. Kiwo survived by escaping two days after being detained. Despite the significant international attention that the case received after a video of the torture was published by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in October 2010, there are serious concerns that the perpetrators will not be held accountable and adequately punished. The victim was arrested at the Kwanggok Nalime TNI post near Yogorini village on his way from Tingginambut towards Mulia, Papua, Indonesia. During two days of detention, Mr. Kiwo was subjected to several serious forms of torture, before he was able to escape in the morning of the third day. Mr. Kiwo is currently in hiding for security reasons. A summary of his testimony is available here.

(Photo: Tuanliwor Kiwo)

CASE NARRATIVE:
While some sources report the arrest to have taken place on May 30, 2010, a translation of the victim's testimony alleges the arrest to have taken place on May 9, 2010. Mr. Anggen Pugu Kiwo, who is also known as Tuanliwor Kiwo reached the Kwanggok Nalime military post at around 9.00 a.m. while traveling using a motorbike taxi towards Mulia in Papua. Mr. Kiwo was asked to enter the military post where they were handcuffed and beaten. Mr. Kiwo, has provided testimony about his treatment.

According to Mr. Kiwo's testimony, he was subjected to torture for some 32 hours, which included him being subjected to:

  • Having his toes pulled with pliers;
  • Having his penis pulled with pliers until it was almost severed;
  • Having his chest , stomach and thighs burnt with a hot iron rod;
  • Having his hands tied with rope that was then used to smash him against stones and other hard objects resulting in injuries to his knees and other parts of his body;
  • Being tied up and placed under a large pile of wood making it difficult to breathe. The pile was then lit with petrol, causing the victim to think he was going to burn to death, but he was removed before he received major burns;
  • Having a plastic bag tied around his head until near suffocation; 
  • Having his limbs tied down and then being stepped upon with boots for prolonged periods, resulting in a broken nose and severe bleeding from nose, mouth and other parts of the head;
  • Rough shaving of his hair and beard, resulting in cuts to the mouth, ears and nose;
  • Burning of the skin with a mixture of chili, washing powder and salt;
  • Having a lit cigarette pushed into his nose, causing burns;
  • Repeatedly being covered in cold water at night resulting in shivering and cramps;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Repeated beatings; 
  • Threats of having his throat cut with a bayonet blade;
  • Being hung upside down and threatened with having his body split in two with an axe;
  • Having his legs tied with barbed wire;
  • Beatings on the back with a wooden rod resulting in the breaking of bones in the victim's back;
  • His whole body being put into a plastic sack;
  • Prolonged handcuffing with a rope resulting in swollen legs and hands;
  • Being left for a prolonged time naked in the sunlight.

During the torture, Mr. Kiwo repeatedly pleaded for the perpetrators to stop and to release him, without success. Mr. Kiwo reported having endured severe panic attacks, cramps and extreme pain and to have lost consciousness during the torture. He explained that he was only able to walk with great difficulty and pain during his escape, due to the swelling of his legs.

Mr. Kiwo was interrogated regarding separatist activities in the area and about possible weapons held by community members.

In the late afternoon of the second day of detention by the military Mr. Kiwo received basic treatment for his injuries. His wounds were cleaned with alcohol and antiseptic fluid, he received injections in his swollen feet and hands and thighs and received stitches to his broken nose. He was then given some clothes. Mr. Kiwo reported that the military were no longer able to handcuff him as he was not able to bend his limbs sufficiently due to cramp and swelling.

During the second night of detention, Mr. Kiwo heard the soldiers planning his execution. He also witnessed phone calls between the post and other units of the military about his case, showing that others in the military were aware of the treatment he was being subjected to. Following this he successfully untied his body and escaped. Mr. Kiwo managed to avoid being hit by bullets being shot at him and ran away. He reported this escape to have taken place on May 11, 2010.

He is currently in hiding and has reportedly not been able to see a doctor to receive treatment for his wounds. Please see the summary of his testimony (6:25 min) or watch the full testimony (30:14 min) as published by the Papuan Customary Council (DAP).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Indonesia ratified the Convention against Torture in 1998 and is therefore required under international law to criminalise torture and to halt its use. However, torture continues to be used routinely by the police and the military in Indonesia. Furthermore, Indonesia agreed in 2008 to review its Penal Code to criminalise torture during the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia's human rights situation at the UN Human Rights Council.

The Indonesian military enjoys immunity from prosecution by the civilian justice system. Violations of human rights by members of the military rarely result in anything but very lenient punishment as the result of trials by military tribunals that do not meet internationally accepted standards of transparency, independence or fair trial.

The AHRC released a video in October showing two incidents: one concerning the ill-treatment of a group of arrested indigenous persons; while the second showed the torture of Mr. Kiwo. A military tribunal has reportedly sentenced the perpetrators in the first case of ill-treatment to a few months of imprisonment. However, no progress at all has been made concerning the torture of Mr. Kiwo. Lt. Col. Susilo, a spokesman for the military command in Papua claimed that the military was not able to find the perpetrators in this case.

The Indonesian military is frequently reported to have conducted so-called sweeping operations in the Papuan highlands, which result in abuses and the intimidation of the indigenous community. Indonesia justifies the heavy military presence in Papua with the alleged threat of armed independence movements. However members of the indigenous community are often falsely stigmatized as supporters of such organizations. They then become targets of police and military violence including arbitrary arrest, torture, and other human rights violations.

A second victim, was arrested together with Mr. Kiwo. He has reportedly been released after his family had pleaded for him to be set free.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities below calling for an impartial investigation into the torture case and to ensure that the perpetrators are held adequately accountable given the grave nature of the human rights violation.

The AHRC is also writing separately concerning this case to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people .

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDONESIA: Impunity for soldiers accused of torturing an indigenous Papuan

Name of victim: Tuanliwor Kiwo
Names of alleged perpetrators: TNI members of the Kwanggok Nalime TNI post near Yogorini village, near Puncak Jaya, Papua, Indonesia
Time of incident: May 2010
Place of incident: Kwanggok Nalime TNI post and vincinity

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the arbitrary arrest and torture of Mr. Tuanliwor Kiwo in May 2010. I am shocked to hear that despite the release of a detailed testimony of his torture by the Indonesian military, no action was taken to arrest the perpetrators.

While some sources report the arrest to have taken place on May 30, 2010, a translation of the victim's testimony alleges the arrest to have taken place on May 9, 2010. Mr. Anggen Pugu Kiwo, who is also known as Tuanliwor Kiwo reached the Kwanggok Nalime military post at around 9.00 am while traveling using a motorbike taxi towards Mulia in Papua. Mr. Kiwo was asked to enter the military post where they were handcuffed and beaten.

According to Mr. Kiwo's testimony, he was subjected to torture for some 32 hours, which included him being subjected to:

  • Having his toes toes pulled with pliers;
  • Having his penis pulled with pliers until it was almost severed;
  • Having his chest , stomach and thighs burnt with a hot iron rod;
  • Having his hands tied with rope that was then used to smash him against stones and other hard objects resulting in injuries to his knees and other parts of his body;
  • Being tied up and placed under a large pile of wood making it difficult to breathe. The pile was then lit with petrol, causing the victim to think he was going to burn to death, but he was removed before he received major burns.
  • Having a plastic bag tied around his head until near suffocation;
  • Having his limbs tied down and then being stepped upon with boots for prolonged periods, resulting in a broken nose and severe beading from nose, mouth and other parts of the head;
  • Rough shaving of his hair and beard, resulting in cuts to the mouth, ears and nose;
  • Burning of the skin with a mixture of chili, washing powder and salt;
  • Having a lit cigarette pushed into his nose;
  • Repeatedly being covered in cold water at night resulting in shivering and cramps;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Repeated beatings;
  • Threats of having his throat cut with a bayonet blade;
  • Being hung upside down and threatened with having his body split in two with an axe;
  • Having his legs tied with barbed wire;
  • Beatings on the back with a wooden rod resulting in the breaking of bones in the victim's back;
  • His whole body being put into a plastic sack;
  • Prolonged handcuffing with a rope resulting in swollen legs and hands;
  • Being left for a prolonged time naked in the sunlight.

During the torture, Mr. Kiwo repeatedly pleaded for the perpetrators to stop and to release him, without success. Mr. Kiwo reported having endured severe panic attacks, cramps and extreme pain and to have lost consciousness during the torture. He explained that he was only able to walk with great difficulty and pain during his later escape due to the swelling of his legs.

Mr. Kiwo was interrogated regarding separatist activities in the area and about possible weapons held by community members.

After two days in illegal military detention, Mr. Kiwo was able to escape from the military post to seek medical help and shelter. He is currently in hiding.

I am deeply concerned about the security of Mr. Kiwo as a result of the inaction by the military and police to investigate this case an bring those responsible to justice. The AHRC believes that Mr. Kiwo continues to be under serious threat since his escape.

I urge you to take all necessary measures to ensure that the case is investigated by an impartial body and that the perpetrators of this horrendous crime are being identified and prosecuted according to the law.

Yours sincerely,

----------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
 

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono

President
Republic of Indonesia
Presidential Palace
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010
INDONESIA
Fax: + 62 21 231 41 38, 345 2685, 345 7782

2. Adm. Agus Suhartono
Headquarter
Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI)
Jakarta
INDONESIA

3. R. Widyopramono SH,M.Hum
Prosecutor
Kejaksaan Tinggi Papua
Jl. Anggrek No.6 Tj. Ria Jayapura
INDONESIA

4. General of Police Timur Pradopo
Chief of Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No.3
INDONESIA

5. Drs. Bekto. Suprapto. M.Si
Head of Police Area Headquarters Jayapura, Papua province
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura
INDONESIA
Tel: + 62 0967 531014
Fax: +62 0967 533763

6. Drs. Petrus Waine
Director of the Criminal Unit
Papua Regional Police
Jl. Samratulangi
No. 8 Jayapura
INDONESIA

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)
Indonesia Desk (indonesia@ahrc.asia)