The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Mobile Brigadier (Brimob) Unit of Central Java Regional Police attacked Sukolilo villagers in Kedomulyo, Pati, Central Java with disproportional and indiscriminate use of force in order to disperse a protest demonstration on January 22, 2009. The attacks injured several villagers and damaged their houses. The attacks were followed by arrests and the victims were denied legal representation.
Villagers from Sukolilo and Kayen held a demonstration on January 22, 2009 in order to prevent the Company, Semen Gresik, from establishing a cement factory with destructive effect to the livelihood of the villagers. In this attempt the villagers tried to bring the thirteen employees and consultants of Semen Gresik Company and the head of the village to a discussion by refusing to allow them to leave. The villagers tried to discuss the legality the village head’s sell out of the Lemah Bengkok, indigenous people’s land tenure in Kedomulyo to Semen Gresik. The staff of Semen Gresik tried to leave, but the villagers stopped them and demanded the companys staff give a written assurance that Semen Gresik would not construct the cement factory until a joint-research conducted by government officials together with villagers regarding the ownership of the land has been conducted.
Meanwhile, several negotiations conducted between villagers and the District Head including the Chief of Sector Police. The village head refused to meet and negotiate with the villagers and the villagers continued their demonstration.
When it got dark, some villagers went back to their house to pray and others stayed at the location. Some Mobile Brigadiers–a special unit in the police institution whose task is to handle demonstrations, suddenly broke a lamp of a house which caused panic between the villagers. About 250 Brimob personnel suddenly attacked the villagers sitting near the cars. The villagers–women and men, young and old–were indiscriminately kicked, beaten and trampled. Mbah Darsi, 50, was trampled and her clothes were ripped off so that she was left wearing only underwear. Yelling abusive language, Brimob officers threw stones at the villagers.
Whereas the Brimob chased men from the location, they locked up around 75 women in four different houses of villagers. At the end, they arrested nine men and took them to Pati Police Station.
At 11pm, some villagers came to the police station to visit the arrestees but the head of the station did not allow this since they were under the investigation. The chief of police said that they should come back at 9am on following day. When the villagers and their lawyers went to the station at 9:30am on January 23, they were not allowed to meet the arrestees. The nine villagers are still in custody as this report is written.
The protest held on January 22 2009 was triggered by an issue saying that the head of village has sold Lemah Bengkok, indigenous peoples land tenure, without any consent of the villagers, which puts the legality of the transfer as well as the resulting ownership of the land in question. The main reason for villagers to protest, however, was the fact that the land was sold to Semen Gresik Company which has planned to establish a cement factory there.
The land sold to Semen Gresik is the land which used to work on by local farmers. Thus, establishing a cement factory there will make traditional farmers lose their job. Moreover, the reason for villagers to protest the establishment of the factory is because it will potentially cause harm to their environment. Although Semen Gresik Company has stated their commitment to protect the environment, what has happened in other place in Indonesia – that many factories caused water, air, and environment pollution – has made villagers couldnt believe that the same thing wont happen in Kedomulyo.
In conflicts between private companies and villagers regarding the use of land customarily inhabited by locals, the police often send Mobile Brigades (Brimob) to use force against local protesters and to protect the company’s activities such as mining or the construction of factories. The economic social and cultural rights of Indonesian’s especially in rural areas are in this way often violated with the support of the Police or the Military.
According to the article 3 of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty, however. More specific, the 13th principle of UN Basic Principles for The Using of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provided that, “in the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary”.
Please write letters to the concerned authorities urging them to ensure that this case is thoroughly investigated and the legal representatives of nine villagers provide legal advice to them.
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INDONESIA: Police violence and arrest of protesters and denial of their legal representatives
Details of victims suffered physical injuries (Name/address/sex-age/injuries):
1. Rinoto / Gowong, Sukolilo / Male – 21 / Head injuries, bruises on face
2. Waslan / Curug, Kedumulyo / Male – 35 / Bruises on hand
3. Antok / Kedumulyo / Male – 21 / Head injuries
4. Sutiah / Puri, Kedumulyo / Female – 37 / Bruises on left hand
5. Suntari / Puri, Kedumulyo / Female – 35 / Bruises on chest
6. Santoso / Sangrahan, Sukolilo / Male – 42 / Bruises on back head and shoulder
7. Suwoyo / Bowong, Sukolilo / Male – 35 / Pain in neck
8. Jumadi / Popoh, Kayen / Male – 37 / Bruises on head
9. Kuat / Bowong, Ngawen / Male – 37 / Chest hit by police
10. Wartoyo / Bowong, Ngawen / Female – 51 / Wound at hand, hit by police
11. Karsimah / Curug, Sidomulyo / Female – 55 / Bruises on her left leg
12. Gunondo / Kaliyoso, Undaan, Kudus / Male – 35 / Wound at right leg, kicked by police
13. Sumiati / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Male – 34 / Pushed and attacked by police
14. Sukarlan / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 50 / Pushed and attacked by police
15. Suripan / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Male – 45 / Pushed and attacked by police
16. Lekah / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 45 / Pushed and attacked by police
17. Jami / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 45 / Pushed and attacked by police
18. Sulasih / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 45 / Pushed and attacked by police
19. Jastini / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 45 / Pushed and attacked by police
20. Sulastri / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 46 / Pushed and attacked by police
21. Jami / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 48 / Pushed and attacked by police
22. Ngatmi / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 40 / Pushed and attacked by police
23. Rukini / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 40 / Pushed and attacked by police
24. Kastini / Kedumulyo, Sukolilo / Female – 42 / Pushed and attacked by police
Details of victims suffered material loss (Name/address/loss):
1. Fadlan / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
2. Supriyani / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
3. Kusni / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
4. Kamrin / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
5. Dartin / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
6. Jamal / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
7. Juri / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / Light damaged house
8. Unidentified / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / A handy- cam lost
9. Unidentified / Puri Kedumulyo Sukolilo / A camera lost
Name of alleged perpetrators: Brimob Unit of Central Java Regional Police
Place of incident: Village of Sukolilo, Kedomulyo, Pati, Central Java
Date of incident: on January 22 2009
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding Brimob brutal acts which has caused loss and injuries to many villagers of Sukolilo, Kedomulyo village.
According to the information I have received, on January 22 2009, Brimob officers attacked villagers of Kedomulyo Village. The villagers urged the head of village to meet and talk to them. Even though they hold thirteen employees and consultants of Semen Gresik from leaving, they did nothing to them and asked them to make a statement letter. No violence was committed and they paid special attention each other not to hurt the employees.
Although there was no violence occurred in the demonstration, Brimob suddenly attacked villagers in the demonstration. Brimob punched, kicked, and stepped on unarmed villagers who were sitting peacefully and 75 women were brought to four different villagers houses and were locked up there. Twenty four villagers are physically injured, and some villagers suffer material loss. At the end, nine villagers were arrested and brought to Pati Police Station. Some villagers then came to the police station but they were not allowed to meet their arrested friends, although they came there on day and time which suggested by the Head of the police station.
Under these circumstances, I wish to remind you of the article 3 of UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, which states that law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty. Furthermore, the 13th principle of UN Basic Principles for The Using of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provided that, “in the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary”.
Accordingly, I urge you to investigate this case in compliance with the international norms and standards on unnecessary use of force so that those who failed to abide by domestic and international procedure can be properly prosecuted and punished according to law. I also urge you to provide all medical treatment to those injured and pay the compensation for the damages of their houses. I finally urge you to ensure that legal representatives of the arrestees provide legal advice without any hindrance from the police so that this case is properly recorded for fair trial.
If law enforcement institutions in Indonesia have serious commitment to serve the community and to protect all persons, every use of arbitrary and excessive force by the law enforcement officials itself has to be processed according to law as well. The omission of such excessive actions actually shows that there is no serious effort to end impunity culture in Indonesia.
I sincerely look forward to your quick and effective response in this matter.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010
Tel: + 62 21 3845627 ext 1003
Fax: + 62 21 231 41 38, 345 2685, 345 7782
2. Mr. Hendarman Supandji
Kejaksaan Agung RI
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No. 1
Tel: + 62 21 7221337, 7397602
Fax: + 62 21 7250213
3. Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri
Chief of National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Tel: +62 21 721 8012
Fax: +62 21 720 7277
4. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Tel: +62 21 3925230
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227
5. Wahyu Hidayat
Head of Brimob Unit of Central Java Regional Police
Jln. Pahlawan No. 1 Semarang
Tel: +6224-7826732, +6224-8319833
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (email@example.com)