Indonesia investigates video showing apparent security forces torture

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Indonesian police are investigating the authenticity of a new video that appears to show security forces torturing two detainees during interrogation. The video shows locals from Papua province being questioned about an alleged arms cache and beaten.

One man is bound, threatening with a knife and kicked by a group of men. At one point a burning stick is placed to one man's genitals; the Asian Human Rights Commission — the group that released the footage — has described other portions of the film as too graphic to display.

According to Marwoto Soeto, speaking for the nation's police, said they "will investigate and find out what's going on. We'll also find out who recorded the video and spread it." Wachyono of the Papuan police commented that an armed separatist group may have faked the video to discredit authorities. He added that "[i]f it's proven that the police have committed human rights violations, we will take firm action," a sentiment echoed by Soeto: "If police are involved, we will take firm action."

Agence France-Presse claims that "the police force... is known to torture and abuse detainees of all kinds, including women and those held on minor charges." Human Rights Watch accuses authorities of attacking villages in Papua and West Papua provinces, sometimes murdering inhabitants, and of arresting non-violent activists. Last month, press in Australia accused police in Maluku province of regularly abusing separatist detainees. The Kopassus (special forces) are accused of being the worst of the abusers.