The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture, allegedly committed by the police officers of Narcotics Department of North Sumatra Provincial Police, on Munawir Alamsyah. The police performed excessive force while arresting him on 7 April 2012 and took him to a house for an interrogation before finally bring him to the police. It was reported that Munawir suffered injuries on his face and ears. He was not accompanied by any legal counsel while he was being questioned and his request for a medical examination was disregarded by the police.
According to his lawyers, Munawir Alamsyah was arrested on 7 April
2012 near the Asrama Street in Medan, at around 9 am. He was allegedly involved in a drug transaction as prohibited by Law No. 35 Year 2009 on Narcotics. One of the articles he is charged with is Article 114 paragraph (2) of the Narcotics law which carries the death sentence as the maximum punishment. The police officers from the North Sumatra Provincial Police applied excessive force during arrest as a result of which he suffered
several injuries. It is reported that he was beaten by the police resulting in his lips, eyes, face and back having bruises. One of his ears was bleeding while his friend who was with him at that time was shot on his right arm. (PHOTO: Munawir Alamsyah. Courtesy of Dhi’IraKh & Associates.)
Although the arrest happened at around 9am in the morning, Munawir was brought to the police station at 6pm in the evening. The lawyers informed the AHRC that, prior to that, Munawir was brought to a house in Ring Road, Medan and interrogated there while the police continued beating him. Munawir signed a power of attorney with the lawyers from Dhi’IraKh & Associates at 10am on the next day. However the lawyers were not allowed to provide legal assistance to him. When his lawyers came to the police station their presence was rejected by the police and Munawir was questioned by the police without being accompanied by any legal counsel. According to one of the police officers, Iptu Helmi Sembiring, ‘there is no use asking for legal assistance from lawyers. It’s just a waste of money. It will be better if you just leave this to the police and the prosecutors.’
On 9 April 2012, the lawyers of Munawir sent a letter to the Chief of North Sumatra Provincial Police requesting the police to conduct another verbal process on Munawir with their presence. The police responded by sending a letter on the next day claiming that Munawir Alamsyah has been questioned on 7 April 2012 at 6pm and that he was accompanied by lawyers from the police’s legal aid organization. Munawir’s lawyers asked the police to provide the details of lawyers who accompanied Munawir during the verbal process yet the police did not give any further information or clarification. The lawyers also requested a medical examination for their client and filed a complaint to the Profession and Security Division of the police (PROPAM) concerning the excessive use of force allegation. However, at the time of the writing, the police have not taken any necessary measures to respond to the request and complaint.
Apart from the time when they met Munawir for signing the power of attorney, the lawyers have never again been allowed to meet and provide legal assistance to their client.
In 2009, the Chief of the Indonesian National Police issued the Regulation No. 8 Year 2009 concerning the Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in the Discharge of Duties of the Indonesian National Police. Article 11 paragraph (1) of the Regulation establishes that ‘every Indonesian National Police officer/personnel shall not commit: … b) torture of detainees or person suspected of being involved in a crime;… d) inhumane and degrading punishment and/or treatment.’ Indonesia is a state party to the UN Convention against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT) since 1998 yet, up to now, torture as defined in the UN CAT is yet to be criminalised in Indonesia.
In addition to the obligation to criminalise torture, state parties to the UN CAT are also obliged to establish safeguards to prevent torture. One of the safeguards is access to independent medical examination, as pointed out by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in, for instance, his report on Kyrgyzstan. Article 58 of the Criminal Procedure Code also stipulates that ‘a suspect or an accused who is subject to detention shall have the right to contact and to be visited by his personal doctor in the interest of his health, whether or not this has any connection with the process of the case.’ Safeguards to prevent torture also include the prohibition to use secret detentions; that are, those which are not officially registered as police stations, detention facilities or hospitals.
In addition to the right to access to independent medical examination, safeguards to prevent torture also include the right of the suspect or accused to be accompanied by legal counsels. Such right is also one of the elements in the right to fair trial. According to Article 14 paragraph (3) of the ICCPR, ‘in the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality: … (b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing.’ This right is also guaranteed under Article 54 and 55 of the Criminal Procedure Code. In cases where capital punishment might be imposed, the Criminal Procedure Code establishes that the suspect or accused has to be accompanied by legal counsel.
Please write to the listed authorities urging them to ensure that independent and effective investigation is conducted on the torture allegation. Please also urge the law enforcement officials to allow Munawir Alamsyah to be accompanied by lawyers who he chose himself. Adequate compensation should also be provided to Munawir Alamsyah.
The Asian Human Rights Commission is writing separately to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
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INDONESIA: Police tortured and denied a drug offender’s access to legal counsel and medical examination
Name of victim: Munawir Alamsyah
Names of alleged perpetrators: Police officers of Narcotics Unit of the North Sumatra Regional Police
Date of incident: 7 April 2012
Place of incident: Medan
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding torture allegedly committed by officers from the North Sumatra Regional Police towards Munawir Alamsyah in Medan. According to the information I received from his lawyers, on 7 April 2012 morning around 9am Munawir was arrested on Asrama Road, Medan, by the police as he was allegedly involved in drug transactions. The police performed excessive use of force against Munawir who was unarmed by beating him on his face and body. The beatings resulted in wounds and bruises on Munawir’s face and back and it was also reported that one of his ears was bleeding.
His lawyers also informed me that Munawir was brought to the police only at 6pm on that day or seven hours after he was first arrested by the police. During these seven hours, Munawir was detained in a house on Ring Road, Medan, for investigation while being beaten by the police. Munawir signed a power of attorney with the lawyers on the next day but even after the signing the police did not let the lawyers to accompany Munawir during the verbal process. His lawyers requested a re-verbal process with their presence on the next day but the Chief of the North Sumatra Regional Police refused such request and claimed that Munawir Alamsyah has been questioned on 7 April 2012 at 6pm and that he was accompanied by lawyers from the police’s legal aid organization. The police also denied the request of the lawyers for an independent medical examination on Munawir without any clear reason or justification. The information I received reveals that, apart from the meeting for signing the power of attorney, the lawyers have never been allowed to meet with their client.
I would like to bring to your attention that the Chief of Indonesian National Police Regulation No. 8 year 2009 specifically prohibits the police to practice torture or perform or ill-treatment on anyone. Article 11 paragraph (1) of the Regulation establishes that ‘every Indonesian National Police officer/personnel shall not commit: … b) torture of detainees or person suspected of being involved in a crime;… d) inhumane and degrading punishment and/or treatment.’ This is in accordance with the prohibition of torture stipulated in the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which Indonesia is a state party.
I further would like to emphasise that the convention also mandates the state party to establish safeguards to prevent torture, which include the guarantee of detainees’ right to access independent medical examination and treatment as well as the right to legal counsel. I am concerned with the fact that, in this case, Munawir has been denied the access to both. The failure of your government to establish such safeguard is not only a violation to your international human rights obligations but also to your own laws. I am aware that Article 58 of the Criminal Procedure Code obliges the government to give the detainees access to independent medical treatment and Articles 54, 55 and 56 guarantee the right of detainees to legal counsel, especially in cases where capital punishment might be imposed. I am also disturbed that Munawir was interrogated in a house on 7 April 2012 and not in a registered detention facility which invites the suspicion that torture might have happened during seven hours before he was taken to the police station.
I therefore urge you to seriously deal with this matter by ensuring that Munawir is accompanied by lawyers that he chooses himself at any stage of the proceeding. A verbal process which was conducted without the presence of his lawyers should be considered void. I also request you to ensure that Munawir to be granted the access to independent medical treatment and examination thus any risks of torture can be minimised or prevented. The allegation of torture in this case shall also be properly investigated and those who are responsible should be criminally and proportionately punished.
Your swift and effective responses in this matter are highly expected.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088
Fax: +62 21 344 2223
2. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Tel: +62 21 721 8012
Fax: +62 21 720 7277
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
3. Drs. Wisjnu Amat Sastro
Chief of North Sumatra Police
Jl. Sisingamaraja No. 60 KM 10.5
Tel: +62 61 786900
4. Prof. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
Human Rights General Director
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. C-1 Kuningan
Jakarta Selatan 12920
Tel: +62 21 252 1344
Fax: +62 21 45555 5676
5. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Tel:+62 21 3925 230
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)