Papuan Military Urged to Probe Indonesian Torture Videos

Papuan Military Urged to Probe Indonesian Torture Videos

, 7 December 2010

By: Banjir Ambarita


The Papuan chapter of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has called on the local police and military to immediately investigate the alleged torture of Puncak Jaya residents by military personnel.

While the military has already held a tribunal for a torture case that took place in March this year, no investigation has yet been conducted into another torture case that was recorded on video and widely circulated on the Internet in May, causing international outrage.

The video depicted members of the Indonesian military interrogating civilians on the whereabouts of weapons used by the Free Papua Organization (OPM).

The civilians were shown tied up on the ground, with a large blade held against one man’s face. Another video showed a man in military uniform burning a Papuan man’s genitals with a smoldering stick.

“The victims are still alive [and able to testify] so we asked the Papuan military chief to investigate this case thoroughly,” deputy of the Papuan chapter of the commission, Matius Murib, said after a meeting on Monday.

The video footage was screened during the meeting attended by Papuan military commander Brig. Gen. Erfi Triassunu and the province’s deputy police chief Brig. Gen. Ungguh Cahyono.

According to Murib, the military chief said the video screening at the meeting was the first time he had seen the second video that allegedly involved military personnel in the Puncak Jaya district .

He declined to give any further comment regarding Komnas HAM’s request for an investigation.

In a previous case involving footage recorded on a mobile phone camera in March 2010, four soldiers were sentenced to five months in prison for beating unarmed civilians, while their commander, Second Lieutenant Cosmos, was sentenced to seven months for allowing his subordinates to physically abuse and degrade the civilians. All five have appealed the verdict.

Meanwhile, head of the province’s Justice Ministry, Nazaruddin Bunas, said the government has not yet made a final decision on whether to move political prisoner Filep Karma to the maximum security Nusa Kambangan prison in Central Java following a riot at Abepura prison on Friday.

Filep, along with Buchtar Tabuni and three other prisoners, were moved to a police detention center after the riot. Filep is now staging a hunger strike in protest.

“Filep must take responsibility for the incident,” Bunas said. “[Filep and Buchtar] ransacked the Abepura prison. That is a criminal act; that is why they are now being interrogated by the police.”

Hundreds of inmates at the Abepura Penitentiary in Papua rioted on Friday to protest over the shooting of fellow prisoner Hiron Wetipo, who escaped and was killed in a raid on the same day.

The prisoners shattered windows and destroyed fixtures and furniture after jail officials refused to identify the officer who shot Hiron, who had fled with five other inmates early on Friday.

During the riot, Bunas said his office had requested mediation assistance from the Papuan chapter of the human rights commission to talk with the angry inmates.

However, when Matius Murib arrived at the scene, he was pelted by rocks by the mob, Bunas said.