Nur Janti and Apriadi Gunawan, Jakarta – A recent remark by the mayor of Medan, North Sumatra, Bobby Nasution, on police shooting criminals dead has been criticized for potentially leading to human rights violations.
On Sunday, Bobby applauded the Medan Police for shooting dead a robber, calling the police to take strict action against crime perpetrators even if they had to be shot dead.
"Robbery and other crimes have no place in Medan city. Their crime is troubling. The police move is correct as we want peace and security in Medan," Bobby, who is President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law, said on Sunday.
The city police criminal investigation unit personnel on Sunday shot dead a robber, Bima Bastian aka Jarot, in Deli Serdang for resisting arrest and trying to wound the officers.
"When the police attempted to arrest him, he resisted and tried to wound the officers, so we took decisive and measured action, which resulted in his death," Medan Police head Sr. Comr. Valentino Alfa Tatareda said on Monday.
Valentino said Jarot had committed at least eight robberies using airsoft guns before being raided by the police. Valentino added that Jarot was a repeat offender as he was imprisoned for theft and drugs violation in 2019.
Besides shooting Jarot, the Medan Police also arrested four gang members.
In response to an increasing report of robberies in Medan, the police also formed a task force to hunt down robbers, motorcycle gangs and begal (street robbers) that threaten the community.
Recently, a street robbery led to the death of Insanul Anshori Hasibuan, a student at North Sumatra Muhammadiyah University, who died of injuries after being hacked with a machete on his way to buy food. The street robbers, comprising four people, failed to steal a motorcycle from Insanul. The police arrested the four a few days later.
Activists have criticized Bobby's remark, fearing it could lead to extrajudicial killings, which would constitute human rights violations as the victims lost their chance to be tried in court.
"The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) calls on the Medan Mayor to be cautious in talking about shooting dead criminals," the independent research institute focusing on criminal law said in a statement on Tuesday.
The group called on Bobby to resolve crimes in Medan through a systemic approach by ensuring the people's prosperity and protecting citizens' rights.
The ICJR also called on the police to act in accordance to Police chief Regulation No. 1/2009 on the use of force, which states the use of firearms is an officer's last resort to paralyze criminals after their warnings were ignored. The regulation also says that officers could use their firearms if the perpetrator threatens the life of citizens or officers.
Separately, National Police Commission (Kompolnas) commissioner Poengky Indarti called on the Medan administration to apply more preventive measures, such as enhancing police patrols, installing more CCTV connected to local police offices and increasing the number of lights in crime-prone areas.
"The local administration and the police must carry out crime prevention," Poengky said on Tuesday, as quoted by Tempo.co.