INDONESIA: Man illegally arrested and tortured by Pekanbaru police
June 25, 2007
URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION -- URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
25 June 2007
UA-205-2007: INDONESIA: Man illegally arrested and tortured by Pekanbaru police
INDONESIA: Torture; illegal arrest; police brutality; no rule of law
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the illegal arrest and torture of Hendrick Sikumbang by the police officers of Pekanbaru police office on 14 June 2007. By the way it was done, the action wad deemed more an 'abduction' than an arrest. The police brutally tortured Mr. Sikumbang after putting him in a vehicle and drove around the city instead of going to the police station or the court. Membrane of his ear was cracked due to torture and he has been suffering from severe injuries on his body. He filed a complaint however, no action has yet been taken.
At around 3:30pm on 14 June 2007, Hendrik Sikumbang was riding his motorcycle with his friend, Rizal Tanjung, on his way to Padang Cultural Park and a car with blue color followed him. This car cornered Sikumbangs motorbike so that he was unable to move. Subsequently, several men wearing police uniform came out of the car. One of them, Yusril, a former member of West Sumatera Police Regional office, who is currently stationed at Pekanbaru police office, ordered Sikumbang to get into the car. Sikumbang resisted by asking, "Why do I have to come with you guys?" Yusril replied, "Just get into the car and we will tell you later inside." Since Sikumbang knew that Yusril is a police officer, he questioned the motivation behind their action: "Are you trying to arrest me? If so, show me the warrant!"
Refusing to answer, the officers grabbed Sikumbang and tried to shove him into the car. Sikumbang used all his force to hang on to the cars door, but then the policemen started yelling that there was a robbery and that Sikumbang was the thief. All this commotion captured people's attention on the street and everyone nearby saw the incident. Sikumbang could not resist any longer and he was taken inside the car.
Meanwhile, Rizal Tanjung informed it to Syaiful about the incident. Syaiful is the Head of Pemuda Pancasila- Padang Division, a.k.a. PP, branded by the state as a vigilante youth group. When Syaiful received information that Sikumbang was "abducted" by the police, he approached the West Sumatera Police Regional office and the Pekanbaru police station. Syaiful was informed by a police officer in Pekanbaru that his friend was not arrested but only questioned to obtain the whereabouts of Joni Rambai, a suspect in a murder case.
As the car was whizzing around in the city, the police continued to beat Sikumbang with their bare hands and with a gun. While Sikumbang was being assaulted, his cell phone kept ringing, and a text message came from Syaiful. It read, "Hen, I am at Padang police office now, I want to report that you have been 'abducted'." Yusril knew who Syaiful was, so he turned off Sikumbangs cell phone and told the driver to head to Padang police office. At Padang police office, Sikumbang was released by Mukti Juharsa, Chief of Padang police office because there was no prior coordination between the Pekanbaru police office and the Padang police office.
Due to the beating by the police, Sikumbang suffered severe bruises and scars on the head, face and neck. Moreover, Sikumbang's ear was bleeding so profusely that according to Dr. Yan Edward, an otologist, the membrane in Sikumbangs ear had cracked and would cause him hearing loss. To date, the medical report on this case is still in process.
On 15 June 2007, Sikumbang filed a formal complaint to West Sumatera Regional Police office about the torture by the police. However no action has been taken by them.
The AHRC is deeply concerned by this case of illegal arrest and torture by the police. The arrest of Sikumbang was not conducted in a legal manner. It appeared to have been more of an "abduction" than an arrest. The AHRC is concerned that this type of arbitrary arrest in which no warrant was produced with no probable cause, is becoming common practice by the Indonesian law enforcement authority.
Please write to the authorities listed below expressing your grave concern regarding the illegal arrest and torture of Hendrik Sikumbang. The authorities must exhaust all means to ensure that a conclusive investigation is conducted to guarantee that the perpetrators are effectively prosecuted. Please urge them to investigate in this case without delay. The victim must also be afforded appropriate compensation.
INDONESIA: Man illegally arrested and tortured by Pekanbaru police
Name of the victim: Hendrik Sikumbang, a resident of Padang City
Name of alleged perpetrators: Yusril and other unidentified police officers attached to Pekanbaru Police Station
Date of incident: 14 June 2007
Place of incident: In the Kijang car with blue color
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the alleged illegal arrest and torture of Hendrik Sikumbang in Padang City. He was riding his motorcycle when a car carrying several police officers connected to the Pekanbaru Police Station cornered him in the street. Sikumbang was able to identify one of them as Yusril who was a former member of West Sumatera Police Regional office and who is currently stationed at Pekanbaru police office. Even though Sikumbang asked for arrest warrant, the police failed to show it. He was forced to enter the car. The car droved around the city instead of going to police station or the court. Sikumbang was brutally beaten with bare hands and a gun inside the car. It has also been alleged that the police were trying to obtain information from Sikumbang about the whereabouts of Joni Rambai, a suspect in a murder case.
Due to the torture by the police, Sikumbang suffered severe bruises and scars on the head, face, and neck. Moreover, Sikumbang's ear was bleeding so profusely that according to Dr. Yan Edward, an otologist, the membrane in Sikumbang's ear was cracked and would cause him hearing loss. The medical report on this case is still in process.
This piece of information makes me wonder whether the Indonesian authority finds this a common practice to arrest people without any probable cause or any warrant issued, and then torture the them to obtain a confession or other related information.
This type of "law enforcement" is a grave violation of international law as written in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a signatory. According to Article 9 of the ICCPR, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention" (1), and "anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him" (2). The laws cited above were not implemented in Sikumbang's case and even though Indonesias Criminal Procedure Code specifically cites that the authorities have to comply with the warrant provisions, these procedures are often in practice ignored.
The Indonesian government ratified the Convention against Torture in 1998 but has so far refused to pass appropriate legislation criminalizing torture with proper punishment. To prevent future acts of torture, the government must pass proper legislation to punish the perpetrators.
I am informed that Indonesia's Criminal Procedure Code still falls short of international law and standards. Even though law has been revised to include more safeguards for the defendant or suspect, several of its provisions are still weak and does not protect the suspect from abuses of torture and arbitrary detention.
If Indonesia is serious about ending the culture of impunity, it will ensure that fair trial standards are fully implemented at all stages of the investigation and trial procedures. In the case of Mr. Sikumbang, he was not charge of any crime but he was tortured by the police. Therefore, he is a victim of unlawful arrest and I urge the Indonesian government to enforce the right to compensation. It is also the duty of the prosecutor and the police department to investigate the people responsible of the henious act committed against this man.
In the light above I urge you to conduct legal and displinary action against those responsible through impartial investigation into this case without delay. The alleged perpetrators should be subjected to suspension or reassignment during the process of investigation if there is a risk that the perpetrator might impede the investigation. I demand that victim get aduquate compensation. I further urge you to take full efforts to stop illegal arrest and torture by the police so that the alleged perpetrators can not enjoy the impunity at all.
I look forward to your prompt 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. Sutanto
Chief of National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Tel: +62 21 721 8012
Fax: +62 21 720 7277
4. Mr. Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Tel: +62 21 3925230
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227
5. Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Safir Syed
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230
Fax: +41 22 917 9016 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR TORTURE)
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (email@example.com)