INDONESIA: Bandung activists were tortured, face unfair trial


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-43-2001
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Freedom of assembly, Freedom of association, Freedom of expression, Right to fair trial, Torture,

INDONESIA: torture by police, unfair trial, political arrests, denial of right to freedom of assembly, expression, association 

AHRC welcomes the recent capture by the Indonesian police of Tommy Suharto – fugitive son of Gen. Suharto, accused of crimes ranging from corruption and graft to bombings and the assassination of a judge. However, we have serious doubts about the ability of the criminal justice system to proceed effectively, as the system is fundamentally flawed. Time and time again the influential elite and members of military and police charged with horrendous human rights crimes are not prosecuted or let off with ridiculously light sentences; while the poorer sections calling for decent wages and conditions, land for peasants or self-determination for indigenous peoples are harshly punished for raising their voices. 

Little has changed since Suharto was removed from office because the criminal justice system has remained the same. Indonesia has the same judges, the same bribery, the same culture of impunity for the elite and repression for the democratic forces. 


AHRC is today releasing a report of the torture and other human rights violations experienced by 19 human rights defenders in Bandung, Indonesia. They were arrested on June 14th during a protest against rising oil prices. AHRC interviewed 9 of the defendants and attended the trial of 10 of the 19 defendants on October 17. The data collected demonstrates unfair trial procedures that have thus far failed to take into account the use of torture by the police against the defendants for the purpose of punishment, intimidation and making confessions, and numerous other human rights violations. Following is an excerpt from the report. Please view this excerpt and scroll down to see what action you can take on behalf of the tortured defendants from Bandung. 
[For a full copy of the report, see ] 


“There are many serious and fundamental flaws in the juridical process handed out to the 19 persons accused, which have denied them any hope of a free and fair trial. The violations of human rights include: 
1. Use of torture and other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; 
2. Excessive, violent and irrelevant interrogation; 
3. Forced confessions and intimidation to sign unread or false statements and failure to supply copies to the defendants; 
4. Acceptance of forced confessions in court; 
5. Failure to properly investigate allegations of torture; 
6. Lack of proper medical assistance; 
7. Denial of access to independent lawyers; 
8. Detention incommunicado for a period of 5-7 days; 
9. Police refusal to give information about detainees to families; 
10. Use of civilians for violent apprehension of suspects; 
11. Denial of water to those suffering exposure to teargas; 
12. Denial of proper food; 
13. Persistent delays in trial proceedings; 
14. Unfair trial. 

“1. Torture 

“The most serious of these problems is the severe torture that the accused have suffered at the hands of the police. This torture has been carried out: (a) at the scene of the rally (a place known as ‘Gasibu’); (b) at the second site the accused were taken to (about 50m away; a place called ‘Gedung Sate’); (c) in the police vehicle on the way to the police station; (d) at the Bandung Police Station itself; and (e) at Polisi Daerah Jawa Barat (known as ‘Polda Jabar’) where they were subsequently detained. This torture was used to intimidate the victims and to make them sign statements written by the police. The physical forms of torture by police included: 
– beatings with fist; 
– striking with weapons, including guns, teargas guns, and bamboo poles (roton); 
– severe kicking, including to the head, groin, abdomen and sternum; 
– stabbing with bayonet; 
– burning with lit cigarette butt; and 
– denial of medical attention and stitching without anaesthetics. 

“Many injuries were sustained, including 
– concussion and loss of consciousness 
– deep wounds and gashes; 
– profuse bleeding; 
– severe bruising; 
– hearing loss; 
– back injury; 
– headaches; and 
– burns. 
“The food provided (hardened rice, salted fish, fermented beans) could also be considered a form of torture, as it caused bleeding from the anus in at least one defendant and prompted a hunger strike by many of the detainees. 

“The psychological torture took the form of incessant accusations of being ‘provocateurs’; excessive and irrelevant interrogation; being told by police that the other defendants had been killed by electric shock; denial of access to family and lawyers; detention incommunicado; and daily verbal abuse.” 


The 10 defendants who faced trial on October 17th 2001 are as follows. 

(File No. 726/Pid.B/2001/PN.Bdg): 
1. Normalinda binti Muslim, 20, student at UNPAD (Art. 160,170) 

Second Group (File No. 741/Pid.B/2001/PN.Bdg): 
2. Albertus Budi Pratomo, 22, worker at PT MSP (Art. 160,170) 
3. L.V. Mardiyono, 23, worker at PT Tiansi (Art. 160, 170) 
4. Kahpi, 23, worker (Art. 160,170) 
5. Edi Irwansah, 20, labourer at PT JM (Art. 160,170) 
6. Wirya Wangsa Direja, 24, labourer (Art. 160,170) 
7. Deny Kusmarna, 22, labourer at PT Trijaya Utama (Art. 160,170) 
8. Maraden Sinaga, 23, student at UNDAP (Art. 160,170) 
9. Deny Nugraha, 33, worker (Art. 160,170) 
10.Hiskia Hartono, 31, student (Art. 160,170) 

File No. 272/Pid.B/2001/PN.Bdg: 
11. George Dominggus Hormat, 21, student at ITB (Art. 160,170) 

File No. 730/Pid.B/PN.Bdg 
12. Fransiskus Xavarius Fernubun (Black), 21, worker (Art. 160,170) 

No File No. as yet: 
13. Asep Ruhyat, 26, NGO worker at “Dewan Kota” (Art. 160, 170) 
14. Didin Suherman, 20, NGO worker at “Dewan Kota” (Art. 160, 170) 
15. Anton Jauhari, 23, student, GPRI (Art. 160, 170) 
16. Andi Hartono, 22, student at ITB (Art. 160, 170) 
17. Yopi Wijaya, 21, student at ITB (Art. 160, 170) 
18. Sridarwanti, 24, student at STSI (Art. 160, 170) 
19. Doni Danudirjo, 21, student at ITB (Art. 160, 170) 


Last Friday the UN Committee Against Torture, after consultations with the Indonesian government, made some serious conclusions about the practice of torture in Indonesia: 

The Committee recommended that Indonesia establish an effective, independent complaints system to undertake prompt investigations into allegations of ill-treatment by police and other officials, that the length of pre-trial detention be reduced; that human rights defenders be protected from harassment and threats; and — citing what it called a “climate of impunity” — that it ensure that all persons, including senior officials, who were involved in the perpetration of torture were prosecuted. It said positive aspects of the Indonesian report included the establishment of Human Rights Courts and the recent formal separation of the police from the military. 

Concern was cited, among other things, about the large number of allegations of torture and ill-treatment committed by members of the police forces, the army and paramilitary groups reportedly linked to the authorities; about allegations of excessive use of force against demonstrators; about allegations that paramilitary groups reported to be perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment were supported by the military and sometimes reportedly were joined by military personnel; about allegations that abuses were sometimes committed by military personnel employed by foreign companies in Indonesia to protect their premises and to avoid labour disputes; and about an apparent climate of impunity in Indonesia for acts of torture. 


At this stage, it is vital to request the President and Minister of Justice and the National Human Rights Commission to intervene on behalf of the defendants, and to call for complete reform of the criminal justice system. 

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Your Excellency 

You would be aware of the case of the 19 persons arrested on June 14 in Bandung (File No’s. 726/Pid.B/2001/PN.Bdg; 741/Pid.B/2001/PN.Bdg; 272/Pid.B/2001/PN.Bdg; 730/Pid.B/PN.Bdg; plus 7 others still being processed) for participating in a peaceful demonstration on that day against the increased oil prices being planned by your predecessor. It is apparent that the defendants have in fact faced multiple torture at the hands of the Bandung police in several locations, that they were detained incommunicado and ill-treated in many ways, intimidated to sign confessions and interrogated for the purpose of gathering intelligence about democratic movements. In addition to this, the trial they are facing in the Bandung District Court is clearly unfair, as testified by international observers. I urge you to intervene in this case to ensure that the defendants do not suffer further from a criminal justice system that is still operating as it did under Suharto. I further request that you take all efforts to reform this system so that it is capable of prosecuting those guilty of gross human rights violations, and is no longer used as a tool of repression, and urge you to implement the recent recommendations made to you by the UN Committee Against Torture. 

Yours sincerely 


Mr. Ihza Mahendra YUSRIL 
Minister of Justice and Human Rights 
Uahi Utoyo Usman S.H., Menteri Kehkiman, 
JI. H.R. Rosuna Said Kav. 6-7, 
Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan, Indonesia 
Fax: 62-21- 525 3095 
SALUTATION: Dear Minister 


Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri 
President, Republic of Indonesia 
Presidential Palace, Jakarta 
Istana Negara, Indonesia. 
Fax: (62 21) 345 7782 
SALUTATION: Your Excellency 

Mr. Asmara Nababan 
Secretary General 
Komnas HAM 
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng 
Jakarta Pusat 
FAX: (62 21) 392 5227 
SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Nababan