Vitorio Mantalean, Jakarta – State security personnel were the principle actors in the torture of Indonesian citizens over the last year.
According to the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) data, there were 50 incidents of torture committed by the Polri (Indonesian police), the TNI (Indonesian military) and Sipir (prison officers) between June 2021 and May 2022.
"These cases of torture resulted in 144 victims with a breakdown of 126 people being injured and 18 dying", said Kontras Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti in a press release coinciding with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Sunday June 26.
The police were the institution with the most incidents of reported torture, namely 31 cases. Out of this total, 13 people died and 85 suffered injuries as a consequence of being tortured during detention.
Maulidiyanti said that the data was obtained from monitoring of information on media channels, advocacy work and Kontras' networks in the regions related to incidents of torture or punishment which is cruel, inhuman or demeans human dignity.
"The police, the TNI, Sipir still normalise acts of torture and do not follow the stipulations of legislation or internal institutional regulations", she said.
"So, we believe that the state is the principle actor behind the continuation of the practice of torture which occurs in Indonesia", added Maulidiyanti.
The normalisation of acts of torture results in it becoming a pattern that tends to be repeated. Kontras is therefore urging these three institutions to conduct a thorough evaluation and even involve external supervision from independent institutions.
"The related institutions such as the Polri, TNI and correctional institutions must also ensure that personnel who are involved in cases of torture are tried in accordance with prevailing law under transparent legal mechanisms as well as being able to be accessed by the public", she explained.
A similar view was earlier expressed by the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), which says that the number of victims of torture in Indonesia may well be far higher than reflected by the data.
The LPSK received at least 13 reports of torture in 2020, 28 cases in 2021 and 13 cases in just the first six months of 2022.
"The incidents of torture which we analysed, which were reported to the LPSK, were indeed highest during the arrest stage. Second during investigation. Third, outside the actual legal process, this surprised us. Then, fourth, during the detention period", explained LPSK Deputy Chairperson Maneger Nasution on Friday June 6.
"Who are the actors? The actors or perpetrators of torture are indeed primarily officials or state managers. We have quite a lot of data related to this. Second, the apparatus. Third, public officials", said Nasution.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kontras Catat 50 Tindak Kekerasan yang Dilakukan Aparat dalam Setahun".]