Bayu Marhaenjati, Jakarta – A man known as a diehard supporter of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo testified to police that a group of men punched, kicked and then threatened to kill him inside a Jakarta mosque last week.
With a dark bruise clearly visible around his left eye, Ninoy Karundeng told reporters at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Monday of his ordeal after he followed a group of protesters – who had been demonstrating at the House of Representatives compound in Senayan on Sept. 30 – to an area in Pejompongan, Central Jakarta.
"I was taking pictures when they started asking me questions. They found out I was a supporter of Jokowi, that's when they started throwing punches and I was dragged into a mosque," Ninoy said.
More people came into the Al Falah Mosque shortly and surrounded him. "They interrogated me; I answered all their questions. But their response was to throw more punches at me," Ninoy said.
He said he begged his captors to release him but they would not let him go. Then a man showed up and threatened to kill him.
"The man, called 'Habib,' gave me an ultimatum. He said my time was short and that soon my head would be smashed into pieces. He also interrogated me and punched me," he said.
Ninoy said he had never met any of his attackers. "There were dozens of them. At first, they asked me who I was, then they searched my bag. They hit and dragged me into the mosque. They tortured me outside and inside the mosque," he said.
The man called Habib told Ninoy he would be executed before the dawn prayer and his body would be dumped at the demonstration site that day.
On Sept. 30, riots erupted in several places in Jakarta, most notably around the House compound following a week-long rally protesting controversial revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law.
Pejompongan is only around two kilometers away from the national legislature building.
Aside from the Habib, members of a medical team who evacuated protesters to the mosque to avoid the police's tear gas shots also threatened to kill him, according to Ninoy.
The medical officers were the first to interrogate him and even checked out his most recent social media posts, he said.
"They looked at my posts on social media after learning my real name. They read my comments and my posts, and then they hit me again," he said.
The mob released Ninoy from the mosque the following morning on Oct. 1. Before he left, they destroyed his motorcycle. The medical team ordered the delivery service GoBox to take him and his motorcycle home.
Eleven people arrested
Earlier on Monday, the Jakarta Police confirmed the arrest of 11 people in connection to the kidnapping and torture of Ninoy.
Police first learned about the case after an amateur video emerged on social media showing the torture and interrogation.
Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Argo Yuwono said Ninoy had already lodged a criminal complaint with the police. "Ninoy Karundeng lodged a complaint concerning his torture with the Jakarta Police yesterday," Argo said.
The men arrested may face various charges from torture and issuing death threats to hate speech and theft.
Among them was an employee of the mosque, who police said had sought advice from Munarman, a key member of the hardline Muslim group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
"He was present at the scene. He gave instructions to copy data from [Ninoy's] laptop and report them to Munarman. He was then told [by Munarman] to delete the CCTV recording [from the mosque] and not to give all the data to police," Argo said.
Munarman, who is a lawyer, denied his involvement in the torture.
"I found out about the incident from online news and social media. A few days after the incident, a staff member of the mosque sought my legal advice. I asked him to send me the CCTV footage so I could assess the situation – in the legal context," Munarman told Antara news agency.
National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian said earlier the student protests against the KPK Law had been hijacked by other groups who intend to create riots and foil Jokowi's presidential inauguration on Oct. 20.