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Soldiers confess to Papua torture video, claim they were 'annoyed' by OPM harassment

Kompas - January 20, 2011

Jayapura Ė Three members of the Indonesian military (TNI) who are appearing as defendants in a case of torture against civilians in Papua have confessed to being guilty of their actions.

They claim that the torture was spontaneous and not premeditated because they were annoyed over the actions of the armed Free Papua Organisation (OPM) group, which often harasses the authorities.

The confession was made during the cross examination of the defendants at an open hearing by the Jayapura Military Court in Papua on Wednesday January 19. During the trial that was presided over by judge Lieutenant Colonel (CHK) Adil Karo-karo, the three defendants admitted that they consciously carried out the torture even though their tactical commander had ordered them to release the two detainees who were allegedly members of the OPM.

As reported previously, on May 27 last year at a TNI security post in Gurage, Puncak Jaya regency, located around 20 kilometers from Mulia (the regency capital), Telenggen Gire and Anggen Pugukiwo, two alleged members of the OPM were tortured.

The torture was carried out by the deputy commander of the Gurage security post, Sergeant Second-Class Irwan Riskianto and two of his subordinates, Private First-Class Yason Agu and Private First-Class Thamrin Makangiri. The soldiers are from the 753 Infantry Battalion/Arga Vira Tama unit. Pictures of the torture were exposed on the YouTube website.

At yesterday's trial, differences emerged between the testimonies of the defendants and witness First Private Pratu Berno. According to Berno's version of events, which was read out by auditor Major (CHK) Obet Manase because the witness was unable to attend (currently on duties outside the office), it was revealed that the torture by Irwan was carried out by pointing an SS1 assault rife in Anggen Pugukiwo's face. The defendants however said that this testimony was incorrect because the weapon was pointed at Telenggen Gire.

Under cross examination Private Yason Agu explained that the two Papuans who were suspected of being OPM members had already been reported to the tactical commander. But because the evidence was only a dual identity card, the tactical commander ordered the security post soldiers to release Anggen and Telenggen.

However this order was not obeyed by the security post soldiers, which was currently under Irwan's command (the Gurage post commander First Lieutenant had been assigned to help the Yambi post). Instead, they tortured the detainees. (ICH)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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