INDONESIA: Prison guards tortured 42 prisoners and detainees at Abepura correctional facility in Papua 


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-099-2012
ISSUES: Inhuman & degrading treatment, Threats and intimidation, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of 42 prisoners and detainees by prison guards at Abepura Correctional Facility on 30 April 2012 following an argument between one of the detainees, Selfius Bobii, and the Head of the Abepura Correctional Facility (Abepura Kalapas). The prisoners were beaten, kicked, hit with wood blocks as well as iron sticks and some of them were trampled by the prison guards. Their personal items were taken away and burned. The torture and property destruction took place under the order of the Abepura Kalapas.

According to several local NGOs such as The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violance in Papua (KontraS Papua), Sekretariat Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua, Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua) and Elsham Papua, around 12pm on 30 April 2012, the prison guards at Class II.A of the Abepura Correctional Facility were going to put back and lock the detainees and prisoners in their cell. Amongst them was Selfius Bobii who was detained and received punishment for his involvement in the Third Papuan Congress in October 2011. Selfius had asked the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit (KPLP), Juwaini, for a permit to hold a creative activity with other prisoners but his request was dismissed by the KPLP. This led to an argument between him and the Abepura Kalapas, Liberti Sitinjak, who heard the conversation of Selfius and one of his staffs.

The argument between Selfius and the Kalapas ended with an order from the Kalapas to the prison guards to put Selfius into isolation. Selfius avoided the prison guards and insisted that he should not be isolated as he has not done anything wrong.

Other prisoners who were at their cell witnessed this and they also yelled at the prison guards asking them to put Selfius back to his cell instead of to the isolation. Their requests were ignored and the prison guards put Selfius in an isolated area. The prison guards later went back to the cells where the prisoners were yelling. The guards were offended with what the prisoners said so they took them out of their cell and beat, kicked and hit them with fists, wood blocks and iron sticks. The prisoners were also whipped with thick ropes supposed to use for controlling cows. They were also dragged to the yard in front of the block and were asked to walk whilst they were crouching for about 200 metres. As they were doing this, the guards kept beating and kicking them. The guards stepped on some of the prisoners and detainees’ fingers and toes. The guards also kept saying to the prisoners ‘you are all stupid, that is why you ended up here’. The torture and ill-treatment took place for about two and a half hours, approximately from 12.30-3.15pm. There were 41 prisoners in total who were treated this way by twenty prison guards. Two prisoners Hendrik Kenelak and Otto Ikinia fainted and one, Parmen Wenda, had his arm broken.

Before the prison guards put the prisoners back to their cell, the Kalapas asked them to search the cells and took away their personal belongings  and later burned them. Selfius was brought to the Papua Regional Police Station and was questioned. He did not receive any ill-treatment whilst he was there and was later sent back to Abepura Correctional Facility on 3 May 2012.

Principle 6 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment explicitly prohibits the use of torture and ill-treatment against persons whose liberty are deprived. The principle also emphasises that no reason can be used to justify any state officials to conduct torture and ill-treat prisoners. These principles are in accordance with the provisions under the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT) to which Indonesia is a state party since 1998. Yet although Indonesia has ratified the UN CAT, torture itself has yet to be criminalised in Indonesia in order to end the ongoing practice. For this reason, at the first and second Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council’s session on Indonesia, several countries urged the Indonesian government to criminalise torture and to reform its Penal Code in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

The absence of articles making torture a punishable crime in Indonesia contributes to the low investigation rate seen in torture cases in Indonesian criminal procedure. Torture is often deemed merely as a violation to disciplines for which, in the majority of cases, the perpetrators received inadequate or no punishment. Military officers who tortured several Papuans in 2010 as shown in a video distributed on the internet, for instance, were sent only to 8 to 10 month imprisonment for disobedience but have not been held accountable for the torture they committed.

Please write to the listed authorities below urging them to ensure the investigation of the case and the proportionate punishment of the perpetrators following an impartial trial. Please also urge the relevant authorities to provide the victims with protection so that they would not receive any further reprisals. The AHRC writes a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for his intervention into this matter.

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Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Prison guards tortured 42 prisoners and detainees at Abepura correctional facility in Papua

Name of victim: Selfius Bobii, Luis Kossay, Terianus Tabuni, Wayus Hubi, Markus Dabi, Octo Iknia, Fredy Masyrom, Agus Hisage, Habel Itlay, Titus Kogoya, Randy, Kostan, Donny Sineri, Epenus Itlay, Adrian Walangitan, Muhammad Ramly, Orgenes Epa, Elia Komba, Rafles Yoku, Agus Monmut, Jubair, Edi Baransano, Sulario, Ortis Sineri, Kalvin Kapisa, Parmen Wenda, Dominikus Marian, Nius Heba, Narto, Acok, Pas Wenda, Lukas Sawen, Yoram Sawen, Chore Daundi, Luther Ohee, Dedi Dores, Hanan Mambay, Yufri Mameta, Hendrik Kenelak, Stenly Palondong, Alfian Palendeng, Erens Apromis
Names of alleged perpetrators: Liberti Sitinjak, Herman Mulawarman, M. Hutabarat, Juwaini, Olof Itaar, Sarlota Hai, Hardiman, Peneas Kubia, Magrid Kawai, Elly Wamuar, Viktor Paembang, T. Kambu, Bony Manuputy, Wembi Hamadi, Viktor Rio Sitania, Zakarias, Wilson Sibarani, Rahmad, Capung Bc. Ip., Felix Kusali
Date of incident: 30 April 2012
Place of incident: Klas II.A Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding a case of torture by twenty prison guards towards 42 prisoners and detainees at Class II.A Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua. I was informed that on 30 April 2012 at around 12pm, one of them, Selfius Bobii, asked the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit (KPLP), Juwaini, for a permit to conduct a creative activity with other prisoners but sucg request was dismissed. This led to an argument between him and the Head of Abepura Correctional Facility (Abepura Kalapas), Liberti Sitinjak, who heard Selfius’ conversation with one of his staffs. The argument was ended with the Kalapas asked the prison guards to put Selfius into isolation but Selfius was trying to avoid them and to go back to his cell.

Other prisoners and detainees witnessed this and asked the prison guards not to isolate Selfius but their requests were ignored. Instead, after putting Selfius into a sterilised area, the guards took the prisoners out of their cells and started torturing them. The guards beat them with bare hand, wooden blocks, as well as iron sticks. They also stepped on some prisoners and detainees’ fingers and toe. The prisoners were whipped with thick ropes and were ordered to walk whilst crouching for about 200 metres as the guards kept beating them. Two prisoners fainted and one other had his arm broken. All of them suffered injuries, bruises and wounds. It was reported that the torture happened approximately for about 2 and a half hours, from 12.30-3.15pm.

I am concerned with the fact that torture is not a crime yet in Indonesia, especially because it is a state party to the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (UN CAT). I have noticed that this concern has been shared with many other countries such as France, the United States of America and New Zealand as they expressed at the latest UPR session on Indonesia. I welcomed the decision of the Indonesian government which supported the recommendations on criminalisation of torture and the revision of the Penal Code yet I’m calling you to take concrete steps on this matter. Such concrete steps, for instance, is by adequately punishing those who are responsible for the torture. I would like to highlight that torture is not simply a violation to disciplines but, even worse, violation to human rights that those who performed it should be tried and punished by a criminal court instead of a military court or any other internal disciplinary mechanisms. 

In addition to criminalise torture, Indonesia is obliged to establish safeguards to prevent torture which include the protection of torture victims from any further reprisals. 

I therefore urge you to take all the necessary steps to ensure an independent and impartial investigation on this case to take place and those are responsible to be brought into justice. The perpetrators should be tried and punished by a criminal court and not by an internal disciplinary mechanism. Adequate reparation and protection from further reprisals should be provided to the victims in this case. I also call you to revise the Penal Code and criminalise torture as in accordance with your international obligations under the UN CAT.

I look forward to your swift and adequate intervention on this case.

Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 345 8595
Fax: +62 21 3483 4759

2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3. Mr. Sihabudin
General Director of Corrections
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. Veteran No. 11
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 385 7611
Fax: +62 21 345 2155, 231 2140

4. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220669

5. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4-B
Jakarta 10310
Tel: +62 21 392 5227
Fax: +62 21 392 5227

6. Mr. Abdul Haris Semendawai
Head of Witness and Victim Protection Agency
Gedung Proklamasi
Jl. Proklamasi No. 56
Jakarta Pusat 10320
Tel: +62 21 3190 7021
Fax: +62 21 3192 7881

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (
Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-099-2012
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Inhuman & degrading treatment, Threats and intimidation, Torture,