Officer responsible for torturing 20 prisoners in Abepura is removed from office but criminal proceedings are yet to take place

AHRC

 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the case on torture of 20 prisoners at Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua. After intervention from various human rights groups on the case, the Head of the correctional facility who was responsible for the torture was removed from his office earlier this month. However, as of today, no information has been received regarding criminal proceedings against him.

UPDATED INFORMATION:
The AHRC has received updated information from a local activist that Nuridin, the Head of Abepura Correctional Facility, has been replaced by Nico Elias. The newly appointed officer officially took over on 2 March 2013. Media coverage reveals that Nuridin will be relocated to the East Java province where he will be the head of a correctional facility located in Madiun.

The reason for Nuridin’s relocation is still unclear at the time of writing. To the media, the Head of Ministry of Law and Human Rights’s local office in Papua, Demianus Rumbiak, mentioned that “there is no particular reason on why the head of the prison is replaced’. According to him, Madiun Correctional Facility needs to be rejuvenated and it is hoped that Nuridin along with his experience will be able to improve the situation there. However, local activists believe that the relocation is related to the torture case recently had taken place in Abepura Correctional Facility. As the AHRC previously reported in AHRC-UAC-025-2013, on 21 January 2013 three prison guards tortured 20 prisoners with the acquiescence of Nuridin as the head of the correctional facility as well as that of Juwaini, the facility’s head of security unit.

Nuridin himself became the head of Abepura Correctional Facility only last year. He replaced Liberti Sitinjak, who was removed from his office after human rights groups exposed a case of the torture of 42 detainees and prisoners at the similar facility in April 2012 (see AHRC-UAC-099-2012).

The AHRC is concerned that Nuridin has only been transferred to another correctional facility and there has been no criminal investigation conducted against him or other prison authorities responsible for the aforementioned torture case. In accordance with international human rights standards, those who are responsible for torture should be held criminally responsible. Administrative sanction and office relocation are not proportionate punishments for torture as they do not reflect the seriousness of the abuse.

Please continue to urge the relevant authorities in Indonesia to ensure an effective and independent criminal investigation on this matter. The police have to put Nuridin under investigation regardless his new position in Madiun Correctional Facility and the other officers engaged in the torture should also be prosecuted and proportionately punished.

The AHRC has prepared a template which can be used for writing letters to the authorities and is available here.