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Amnesty Slams Police Over Ongoing Abuse of Suspects

Sumber: THEJAKARTAGLOBE.COM | Tgl terbit: Rabu, 24 Juni 2009

Nivell Rayda

Despite several steps taken by police to improve their transparency and accountability, officers are still being found guilty of abusing and extorting suspects living in poor and marginalized communities, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

A report recently released by the human rights watchdog titled “Unfinished Business: Police Accountability in Indonesia,” said that drug users, repeat offenders and sex workers often suffered from torture, degrading treatment and the excessive use of force at the hands of the police.

In some cases, victims were abused to extort money and those who were unable to pay sometimes received worse treatment or were denied access to lawyers or medical care, the report said.

Amnesty reported that there were at least 76 firearm incidents involving police officers and criminal suspects between April 2008 and April 2009. During those incidents, at least 49 people were killed and 60 people injured.

The group said they did not find any solid evidence that suspects had been attacking police officers or resisting arrests.

Donna Jean Guest, the group’s director for Asia Pacific, said Amnesty also found that reports of torture were often ignored by police and the victims who reported the allegations were rarely protected.

“Even if the reports are investigated, they are investigated by the police themselves, which may cause some conflict of interest,” she said. “It is very rare for a police [officer] to be tried before a civil court and face criminal charges, receiving only administrative sanctions. So in reality, they are behaving as if they were above the law.”

Amnesty International urged the government to acknowledge publicly that police abuse was still widespread and initiate an impartial and effective investigation into every credible report. The group also demanded that those responsible be brought to justice and for victims to be granted compensation.

Amnesty also called on the government to establish an independent mechanism to investigate allegations of excessive force and human rights abuses

Ratnawati, a member of the National Police internal affairs department, said that police torture and violence were a thing of the past.

“We have interviewed detained criminal suspects in 16 provinces,” she said. “Through our interviews, we concluded that abuse and torture have dropped by more than 60 percent.”

Usman Hamid, coordinator for the National Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said there had been some progress made in police reforms, including the separation of the police force from the Armed Forces and the establishment of an independent police supervisory body, the National Police Commission.

“But in practice, little has changed since the reform movement started more than 10 years ago. The Amnesty report reiterates the need to take more measures to discourage police abuse of power,” he said.



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