BeritaSatu, Jakarta – Three low-ranking soldiers, including a member of the elite presidential security unit or Paspampres, have been apprehended for allegedly kidnapping a cosmetic and drug salesman and causing the victim to die from "excessive torture" during their ransom demand.
Imam Masykur, 25, died after being tortured by his kidnappers who demanded a ransom of Rp 50 million (approx. $3,200), according to reports on Tuesday by the Jakarta Globe's sister publication, Beritasatu.
The victim worked as a salesman of fake or unregistered cosmetics and drugs, and individuals in this profession are often targeted by abductors because they are reluctant to report to the police, investigators said.
The main suspect has been identified as Private Riswandi Manik, a member of a special battalion responsible for security arrangements during state ceremonies under Paspampres.
Initially handled by the Jakarta Police, the case was later transferred to the Jakarta Military Police upon the discovery of military personnel involvement.
"The suspect knew that [illegal] drug salespersons tend to avoid contact with the police when abducted or extorted. So they impersonated police officers, kidnapped him, and demanded a ransom. However, the torture may have gone too far, leading to the victim's death," Jakarta Military Police Chief Col. Isyad Hamdie Bey Anwar was quoted as saying.
"They demanded Rp 50 million but didn't receive the money, and the torture continued – the victim allegedly died during the process."
The identities of two other suspects, also soldiers with the same rank, have not been disclosed. These soldiers originate from different units within the Army.
"Private HS worked at the Army's topography directorate, and Private J was stationed at the Iskandar Muda Military Command," Isyad said, naming them by initials.
Imam's body was discarded in a dam in the West Java town of Purwakarta and later discovered in a river in the nearby Karawang regency on August 15.
Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshal Yudo Margono is advocating for the maximum punishment for all suspects if they are proven guilty by the military tribunal.
"TNI commander has expressed concerns about the case and pledged to closely oversee [the tribunal] to ensure that the perpetrators receive the highest punishment of death, or at the very least, life imprisonment," TNI spokesman Air Vice-Marshal Julius Widjojono said separately.
During the investigation, it was revealed that the victim was abducted near the cosmetic and drug store where he worked in Rempoa sub-district, South Tangerang.
Video and audio recordings of the victim pleading with his family to pay the ransom went viral on social media platforms, prompting the police to initiate a criminal investigation.