INDONESIA: Outrageous verdict in Papuan torture case 

Mr. Tuanliwor KiwoWith sentences between 9 and 12 months imprisonment for disobeying orders, a military court in Jayapura, Papua gave an outrageous verdict on January 24, 2011 in a case of severe torture. Tuanliwor Kiwo, an indigenous Papuan was tortured for 3 days in June 2010. He was detained by personnel of the Kwanggok Nalime military post in the Puncak Jaya region after he was suspected of supporting separatists in the area. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is shocked to see how this show trial avoided holding the perpetrators accountable for the key crime in this case — torture. (photo: Tuanliwor Kiwo, source: local activists)

The trial only came about after heavy national and international pressure and the result does not provide an adequate remedy for the gravity of the human rights violation. The AHRC regrets that the perpetrators have not been charged with their actual crime and rejects this trial.

While violence against civilians by the military is commonplace in Papua, the case of Tuanliwor Kiwo received wide international attention after a video of the torture taken by members of the military during the crime was published by the AHRC in October 2010. Mr. Kiwo also gave a detailed testimony of the 3 days of torture during his detention.

During the military detention, members of the post pulled Mr. Kiwo’s toes and penis with pliers, burned his chest, stomach and thighs with an hot iron rod, smashed him against stones, threatened to burn him alive and kill him with an axe, burned him with cigarettes and tied a plastic bag around his head until near suffocation. During the torture that included other forms of the infliction of physical and mental suffering in order to obtain information about alleged separatist locations nearby and as a form of intimidation, Mr. Kiwo lost consciousness due to the severe pain and injuries. Mr. Kiwo eventually managed to escape the post at night.

Torture is one of the most severe human rights violations and is illegal by international law. Indonesia ratified the Convention against Torture in 1998 but has until today failed to take any tangible action to eradicate the systematic practice as required by the convention. Countries that managed to largely eradicate torture have sentences of ten years up to life imprisonment (25 years) for perpetrators of torture.

The AHRC demands that the Indonesian authorities take swift action to ensure full accountability of the perpetrators by bringing the military personnel who tortured Mr. Kiwo to a civil court where they will be held accountable according to international laws and that the victim receives an adequate compensation, reparation and medical treatment.

The AHRC also urges Indonesia to adopt the review of its Penal Code making torture a crime according to the definition in the convention against torture ratified by Indonesia and to review the laws regarding military courts immediately to ensure that all violence and other crimes committed by army personal against civilians ceases.

The AHRC is concerned that the lack of effective remedies provided by the Indonesian authorities to victims of violence in Papua will aggravate social tensions and will have an adverse effect on the integration of indigenous Papuans into Indonesian society. Resistance to the Indonesian authorities will grow as long as the same authorities are unable to provide justice, human rights and remedies for all. All human rights violations in Papua have to be investigated according to the human rights court law and the systemic and widespread nature of the atrocities committed now and in the last decades must be acknowledged.

In this regard the AHRC urges the President of Indonesia and the Chief of the Indonesian military to ensure that the perpetrators in this case are not just held accountable for disobeying orders but that a trial in a civilian court will address the crime of torture they committed. Until then the case remains unresolved.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-013-2011
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Torture,