INDONESIA: Reforming the Criminal Law Procedure is a Must to Prevent Torture

Torture is still taking place in Indonesia. There is a serious gap between national regulation and international Human Rights Laws. Indonesia is a State Party to two important international human rights instruments. They are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). Up until now, Indonesia does not have a specific law which punishes torture.

Under the existing Law of Criminal Procedure, the Police and the Prosecutor have authority to detain suspects, especially those charged under the Penal Code (known KUHP), with more than 5 years of imprisonment. In some instances, under pretrial detention, torture and other inhuman acts, do occur. Under the existing Law of Criminal Procedure, the Police have authority to detain suspects for 20 days. And with the permission of the Public Prosecutor, the detention period can be extended to a period of 40 days. During this period of pretrial detention anything can happen.

In some cases, torture is still used as a method of obtaining confessions from suspects or accused persons. Police Headquarters had issued an internal regulation on human rights in practice in daily Police duties. But, in fact, there has been no serious efforts made by the Security Forces to reduce or eradicate torture.

Case examples:

a. Mr. Nurhadi, is a correspondent journalist for Tempo Magazine. He became a victim of maltreatment and was brutally attacked while conducting media coverage. The violence against Nurhadi occurred when he put forth an analysis report. It was related to the Director of Investigation of the Directorate General of Taxation of Ministry of Finance, Mr. Angin Prayitno Aji. It was a case of a tax bribe handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

b. The torture to death of Mr. Herman Alfred. It was allegedly conducted by Police Officers of the Balikpapan City Police Office (Kepolisian Resor Kota Balikpapan). Mr. Herman was alleged to have stolen a smartphone. Subsequently, unknown people forcibly picked him up from the Police station. In the end, the Balikpapan City Police Office officially informed Herman’s family that he died while under Police detention. Herman’s family faced difficulities in seeking to examine Herman’s body. Seemingly, the Police did not provide access to the family to view the body.

c. Police officers of Barelang City Police Resort (Polresta Barelang, Batam, Riau Islands Province committed torture to death against Mr. Henry Alfred Bakari. Hendri was arrested by Police Officers on 6 August 2020 by Officers of the Narcotic Unit of Barelang City Police Resort. There is a strong indication that Hendri experienced torture during his arrest and police examination at Police headquarters. According to the medical record, Hendri received many injuries to his body. Currently, the Regional Police Office of Riau Islands Province has conducted an examination of the Police Officers who allegedly tortured Hendri Alfred to death.

d. Around 4.00 pm, Michael Ipnun felt nauseous, so Police Officers brought him to the local health center in Tanah Miring, approximately 3 km away from the police station. Four members of the civil defense (Linmas) tortured Michael Ipnun at the health center while his hands were tied behind his back. He died around 6.30 am at the health center. According to the doctor, Michael Ipnun died as a result of a strong impact on the back of the head. Michael was involved in a traffic accident near the village of Sarmayam in the Tanah Miring District on 21 September 2020.

e. The torture to death of Mr. La Gode, a resident of Taliabu Island, North Moluccas Province, Indonesia. After being arrested by a Police Officer and detained in the Military Post of Task Force (Satgas) 732/Buana, Gode passed away with serious injuries to his body, particularly in the back and lateral areas.
In order to ensure that the Law of Criminal Procedure is seriously reformed and pre-trial detention is abolished from Indonesian Law, the Asian Human Rights Commission urges the Government to:

1. Immediatey reform the Law of Criminal Procedure and make sure that pretrial detention is removed.

2. Immediately complete and enact the Amendment to the Law of Criminal Procedure.

3. Guarantee prosecution and punishment of torture cases by not allowing them to go unpunished.

4. Ensure adequate compensation for victims of torture. Strengthen the oversight mechanism upon Law Enforcement Agencies ensuring that abuse of power and misuse of authority afforded by LAW will not recur so easily.

5. Officially invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to visit Indonesia as soon as possible. Let him appraise the grass roots problem on the ground for himself and form his own opinion.

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