INDONESIA: Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) personnel kidnapped and tortured to death a young man

An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to the President of Republic of Indonesia 

Mr. Joko Widodo
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat

Tel: +62 21 3458 595
Fax: +62 21 3484 4759

Dear Mr. President: 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) strongly condemns the alleged kidnapping and torture that resulted in the death of a victim,  which was committed by the Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) personnel in Jakarta on Thursday, August 24, 2023. The torture case resulted in the death of Imam Masykur (25), a young man from the Mon Keulayu Village, the Gandapura District, the Bireuen Regency, the Aceh Province.

Based on information gathered through the media, before he died, the victim was forcibly taken by personnel of the Paspampres, namely Chief Soldier (Prajurit Kepala), Riswandi Manik, State Protocol Guard Battalion (Yonwalprotneg) along with two other people who are also personnel of the Indonesian National Military (TNI). During the attempted forced pick up carried out by the personnel of the Paspampres and the TNI, the family received information that the victim had experienced an act of violence directed at the victim. Apart from experiencing acts of violence, based on the video that has been circulating, the victim’s family was also forced to send money amounting to Indonesian Rupiah 50 million.

Regarding the motive, based on the chronology provided by the Military Police, the perpetrators pretended to be Police officers and arrested the victim on the grounds of selling illegal drugs. Subsequently, the victim was taken to South Tangerang with the excuse of being arrested. The perpetrators argued the arrest on the basis of the suspicion of selling illegal drugs.

Based on this chronology of the case, we provide various notes as follows:

Firstly, the perpetrators who are active TNI soldiers must be prosecuted under the public criminal court. Even though the perpetrators of kidnapping and torture resulting in the death have been handled by the Military Police, we urge that this case be resolved under the public criminal court, because it has harmed the interests of society. Apart from that, military justice has so far been proven to create impunity and has issued light sentences to military personnel who commit violations. 

A judicial process that is open, transparent and based on public accountability is important, because military justice cannot accommodate this. Settlement through the military justice mechanism is also in accordance with Article 65 Paragraph (2) of Law No. 34 of 2004 concerning the Indonesian Military whose soldiers are subject to the power of military justice in cases of violations of military criminal law and are subject to the power of general justice in cases of violations of the general criminal law as regulated by the law.

Secondly, regarding the culture of violence, the military must immediately become the main concern of the TNI Commander to be corrected immediately. Over the years, members of the TNI have never been able to escape acts of violence and human rights violations in society. The allegation of acts of torture resulting in the loss of a person’s life has added to the blacklist of acts of torture that often involve TNI soldiers. To end the chain of violence that continues to harm society, this must be made a priority task for the TNI Commander, General Yudo, so that it can be completed. A declaration of capital punishment would certainly not solve the main problem.

Thirdly, the illegal act committed by Paspampres members has clearly violated various laws and regulations, the Constitution, and international human rights law. The various provisions include Law Number 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights, Law Number 12 of 2005 concerning the Ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Law Number 5 of 1998 concerning the Ratification of the Covenant against Torture, the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), to violations of internal institutional regulations, namely the TNI Commander Regulation (Perpang) Number 73/IX/2010 concerning Opposition to Torture and Other Cruel Treatment in Law Enforcement within the Indonesian National Armed Forces.

Based on the various notes and explanations above, the AHRC urges:

Firstly, that the TNI Commander carry out a comprehensive evaluation regarding the culture of violence among TNI soldiers which is still occurring today and encourage TNI personnel to be prosecuted under the public criminal law mechanisms, including pushing for a comprehensive revision of the Military Justice Law;

Secondly, the Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK) should be proactive with the victim’s family as a result of acts of torture which have actually caused the victim’s family to experience various psychological pressures;

Thirdly, that the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) carry out further investigations into alleged human rights violations that have occurred and monitor the legal process that is currently ongoing.

Yours Sincerely,


Prakash Mohara 

Executive Director

Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong