Indonesian police tortured suspected rioters: Amnesty International

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Police special squad is suspected of torturing people linked to the May 22 riots in Jakarta.

Human rights group Amnesty International has claimed that personnel of the National Police’s Brigade Mobile (Brimob) tortured at least five people during the recent post-election protests that descended into chaos in Central Jakarta.

In a report released Tuesday — in commemoration of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which falls on June 26 — Amnesty said the torture took place near the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) building, including in Kampung Bali, Tanah Abang, during the protests, which took place on May 21 to 23.

Amnesty said its findings, which went through a verification process, and interviews with credible sources show that Brimob personnel tortured and mistreated at least five people in an empty parking lot in Kampung Bali during a sweep at 5:30 a.m. on May 23.

“We are disclosing this information because the public has a right to know what happened on May 21 to 23,” Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said on Tuesday.

“We hope the findings push the police to uphold accountability when violations are committed by officers,” he said.

A video of one of the five victims being beaten by Brimob personnel went viral, prompting the police to acknowledge that the incident had taken place and that they would take action against the officers responsible for the violence.

Meanwhile, one of the other four people beaten in the parking lot — which belongs to Smart Parking Service —was admitted to the intensive care unit of Kramat Jati Police Hospital in East Jakarta, under “strict monitoring by the police”.

Amnesty said the five people were later dragged from the parking lot to the front of the Bawaslu building, where they were gathered with other people who had been arrested. They were later placed in a car and transported to the Jakarta Police headquarters.

Besides the incident in Kampung Bali, the rights group also received videos sent by witnesses — which have been verified by teams at Amnesty offices in Berlin and London — that show at least seven people suffered from ill-treatment by the police during the latter’s efforts to arrest suspected rioters.

Indonesia had ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Usman said, and therefore the country should make effort to end impunity and hold the police accountable for human rights violations.

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