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Again and again: TNI tortures civilians in Papua

Tabloid JUBI - March 27, 2024

Jayapura, Jubi – Repeated occurrences of Indonesian Military (TNI) soldiers torturing civilians in Papua have been evident, as seen in the viral video depicting the torture of civilians in the Puncak Regency allegedly done by soldiers of Raider 300/Brajawijaya Infantry Battalion. There is a pressing need for stringent law enforcement and the evaluation of the deployment of TNI troops from outside Papua to the region.

Frits Ramandey, the Head of the Papua Office of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM Papua), stated that since 2020, Komnas HAM Papua has handled several cases of alleged torture by TNI soldiers against civilians.

"This [case of torture against civilians] is not the first to occur in Papua," said Ramandey in Jayapura on Monday (3/25/2024).

Ramandey cited the case of the torture and murder of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Intan Jaya Regency in September 2020. He also mentioned cases of violence against people with disabilities in Merauke in July 2021.

In 2022, Komnas HAM Papua also dealt with cases of civilian torture in Mappi Regency, as well as the torture of seven children in the Puncak Regency. There were also cases of the murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents in Mimika Regency, as well as the torture of three children in Keerom Regency.

Ramandey stated that the cases handled by Komnas HAM indicate that the torture experienced by civilians was extremely brutal, inhumane, and violated human rights. According to Ramandey, similar methods of torture used by the military were employed during the New Order regime.

"They tend to repeatedly commit torture. [The modus operandi] used [is reminiscent of] the New Order regime, using drums, tying up individuals, rendering them helpless, allowing perpetrators to freely carry out torture," he said.

Ramandey emphasized that such torture only perpetuates the cycle of violence in Papua. He insisted that TNI soldiers deployed in Papua must receive proper training on human rights. Additionally, soldiers involved in torture cases must be prosecuted thoroughly.

"Otherwise, the cycle of violence will continue because [the torture that occurs] will breed hatred, resentment, and anger," said Ramandey.

Ramandey called for an evaluation of the deployment of TNI troops from outside Papua to the region. According to Ramandey, TNI troops from outside Papua would be better placed under the control of the local Military Area Command (Kodam) instead of the current scene under the Operational Control of the Joint Defense Region Command (Kogabwilhan) III.

He believed that the Papua conflict could only be resolved through peaceful dialogue. He urged the state to create space for such peaceful dialogue, including humanitarian dialogue advocated by Komnas HAM in 2023.

Repetition due to impunity

In a written statement on Saturday (3/23/2024), Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, Usman Hamid, stated that the right of every individual to be free from torture is part of internationally recognized norms (peremptory norms or jus cogens).

Usman stated that Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and General Comment No. 20 on Article 7 of the ICCPR have affirmed that no one can be subjected to practices of torture/cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances.

"No one in this world, including in Papua, should be treated inhumanely and have their dignity degraded, let alone resulting in loss of life," wrote Usman.

Usman criticized the practice of impunity towards suspected perpetrators of various past cases, which has led to repeated cases of torture of civilians by TNI soldiers. "These actions keep repeating because there has been no punishment for members who have been proven to have committed crimes such as kidnapping, torture, and even loss of life," he said.

According to Jubi's records, TNI soldiers are suspected of repeatedly being involved in the torture of civilians in Papua. On February 22, 2022, TNI soldiers allegedly assaulted seven children in Sinak District, Puncak Regency, after a soldier from 521/Dadaha Yodha Infantry Battalion 521, Second Pvt. Kristian Sandi Alviando, lost his SS2 weapon at PT Modern hangar, Tapulunik Sinak Airport. The seven children subjected to torture were Deson Murib, Makilon Tabuni, Pingki Wanimbo, Waiten Murib, Aton Murib, Elison Murib, and Murtal Kulua. Makilon Tabuni later died.

On August 22, 2022, a number of TNI soldiers allegedly killed and mutilated four residents of Nduga in Settlement Unit 1, Mimika Baru District, Mimika Regency. The four victims of murder and mutilation were Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi, Lemaniel Nirigi, and Atis Tini.

On August 28, 2022, soldiers from Raider 600/Modang Infantry Battalion allegedly apprehended and assaulted four intoxicated individuals in Mappi Regency, South Papua Province. The four individuals arrested for drunkenness were Amsal Pius Yimsimem, Korbinus Yamin, Lodefius Tikamtahae, and Saferius Yame. Komnas HAM Papua stated that these four individuals also experienced abuse resulting in injuries all over their bodies.

On August 30, 2022, soldiers stationed at Bade Post, Edera District, Mappi Regency, allegedly committed assault resulting in the death of Bruno Amenim Kimko and severe injuries to Yohanis Kanggun. A total of 18 soldiers from Raider 600/Modang Infantry Battalion became suspects in the case.

On October 27, 2022, three children in Keerom Regency, Rahmat Paisei (15), Bastian Bate (13), and Laurents Kaung (11), were allegedly abused by TNI soldiers at a military post in Arso II District, Arso, Keerom Regency, Papua. These three children were reportedly abused using chains, wire rolls, and hoses, requiring hospital treatment.

On February 22, 2023, TNI soldiers at Lantamal X1 Ilwayap Post allegedly assaulted Albertus Kaize and Daniel Kaize. As a result of the assault, Albertus Kaize died. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/again-and-again-tni-tortures-civilians-in-papua