Torture commonplace in Papua
Police torture of suspects is routine practice in Papua according to a survey launched on 13 January by Kemitraan. It also reveals that police, public prosecutors, judges and wardens regularly use violence when undertaking their duties. Physical, psychological and sexual forms of torture are all used by Indonesian authorities as revealed in the book “Torture in the Land of Peacocks: Study on the Reality and Tolerance of Torture in Papua Province”.
“The Head of Police should be angry if there are members who commit torture, because this is against Police Regulations, said Laode Syarief, Chief of the Security and Justice Sector at Kemitraan. “This is reprehensible because Indonesia has signed the United Nations Convention agaianst torture which was ratified in 1998, yet police continue to use torture to force admissions from suspects.”
Disturbingly, the torture tolerance index reveals that the citizens of Papua show higher levels of tolerance for torture than the law enforcers, especially psychologocal torture, perhaps due to decades of conflict and state sponsored violence against its citizens.
The Torture Tolerance Index was undertaken by Kemitraan with LBH Jakarta, LBH Papua and several local CSOs in 2011. The survey interviewed 205 respondents including adat and religious leaders, university students, journalists, human rights activists as well as as victims, suspects, defendants and prisoners. Law enforcers including police, public prosecutors, prison wardens and legal and criminal experts were also included.
Nurkholis Hidayat of LBH Jakarta said that the results show a persistent culture of violence used by law enforcement, with the use of torture by the police in the process of arrest and investigation being 100 percent, 31 percent of detainees by the public prosecutors were tortured, and 12 percent during detention by prison officers. The results support previous surveys by Komnas HAM in Papua showing that 61percent of the police torture during arrest. Eliezer of LBH Papua said that they had full cooperation from police and law enforcers who also gave permission to the research team to gather data from the victims.
In attendence at the launch were representatives from the Police, Public Prosecutors Office, Directorate Generale Penintentiary, human rights activists, academics. Executive Director of Kemitraan, Wicaksono stressed that the survey was not meant to blame certain groups, but to be used as a reference for improving human rights in all state institutions.