A video showing two police officers torturing a Papuan man with a snake during detention has gone viral after being published on the online platform YouTube. The video received more than 83.000 views after Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman shared the video on her Twitter account, claiming that Sam Lokon, a member of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) faced a similar torture technique after being arrested last month. The video shows a handcuffed Papuan man sitting on the floor in front of a wall while two police officers try to force a confession from him. The officers threaten to put the reptile in the suspect’s mouth and trousers if he does not confess the alleged theft of a mobile phone. Multiple international media outlets published articles about the abuse.
The police torture allegedly occurred in the highland city of Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province. The spokesman of the Papuan Regional Police, Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, first attempted to downplay the officers’ actions, arguing that the snake was not venomous and that the officers had not beaten the suspect. As public attention on the case increased, officer Kamal informed that the internal police investigation body PROPAM had investigated the case and initiated a code of conduct trial. Both officers under investigation were allegedly relocated to a different police unit. However, the case was not filed to a public court, allowing the perpetrators to get away with minor disciplinary sanctions, if any. The identity of the suspect and the perpetrators, as well as the detailed circumstances of the torture have not been published.