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Storm of protest after video of soldier stepping on Papuan civilian's head goes viral

CNN Indonesia - July 28, 2021

Jakarta – The actions of an air force (TNI-AU) military police officer who stepped on the head of a Papuan civilian has been slammed by human rights organisations.

The incident occurred in Merauke on the afternoon of July 16 when two air force officers were arresting a civilian who was allegedly intoxicated – according to the air force's version of events.

In the video it shows an officer placing handcuffs on a civilian who has been forced on the ground. Another officer is seen stepping on the person's head. The incident is captured on a one minute and 20 second video which has gone viral on social media.

Papua Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Director Emanuel Gobay is calling on the air force to dishonorably discharge the two officers.

Gobay said that firm action is needed so that security personnel do not act arbitrarily towards civilians. He is also asking that the actions by the two air force officers be subject to criminal charges.

According to Gobay, the incident could be prosecuted under Article 353 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on premeditated mistreatment.

"We strongly condemn the inhuman actions by two rogue air force officers. Based on this, we are asking their superiors to hand down firm administrative sanctions and that it would be best if the officers were dishonorably discharged", said Gobay when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday July 27.

National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara said that the commission has already reported the two officers to TNI (Indonesian military) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.

"Komnas HAM, specifically its Papua representative office, has reported the case to the TNI commander and immediately received a positive response. The TNI commander promised to act firmly against the officers because their actions cannot be justified", said Hapsara.

Hapsara said that Komnas HAM will follow developments in the case and ask that an open legal process be pursued so it can be monitored by the public.

The Papua Advocacy Team meanwhile said that the incident was an act of arrogance, racism and discrimination and has injured the Papuan peoples' sense of security.

"The two TNI-AU military police officers have directly injured the right to a sense of security and protection against the fear of doing or not doing something as regulated under Article 30 of Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights", said Michael Hilman, one of the Advocacy Team members in a press release on Tuesday.

Hilman said that they are urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as the supreme military commander to immediately issue an apology. In addition to this, they are also asking Widodo to order firm action against the two officers.

"Handing down sanctions and dismissing the two military police officers as well as doing this in an accountable and transparent manner as a form of accountability to the public", he said.

TNI AU information office head (Kadispenau) First Marshal Indan Gilang Buldansyah has conveyed an apology over the actions of the two officers who have now been detained. "The TNI AU expresses its regrets and apologies", he said.

Meanwhile, a Twitter account belonging to Papuan journalists and Tabloid Jubi senior editor Victor C Mambor abruptly disappeared several hours after uploading a recording of the video of the incident. (yla/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ramai-ramai Kecam Prajurit TNI AU Injak Kepala di Papua".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210728062504-20-673074/ramai-ramai-kecam-prajurit-tni-au-injak-kepala-di-papu