Police violence in Jayapura - Internal police investigation body accused of negligence

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New allegations have been raised regarding a case of torture by members of the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua). As the victim’s relatives wanted to file a complaint against the perpetrator, the internal police investigation body (Propam) reportedly refused to process the complaint. According to the Papuan media outlet ‘Suara Papua’, a twenty-six-years-old Papuan man with the initials RW (victim wants to stay anonymous) was beaten up by three police officer at the Polda Papua headquarters in Jayapura on 14 January 2021. RW had fallen asleep inside a public transport vehicle. The police officers accused him of being drunk. RW explained that he fell asleep inside the car because he had been fishing in the early morning.

The three officers dragged RW outside the vehicle and collectively beat him up. One of the officers reportedly stomped on RW’s leg multiple times in an attempt to break it while the other officers repeatedly punched him to the face. He was allowed to leave the police headquarters after the torture. RW felt severe pain in his leg and sustained bruises on his face due to torture (see photo, source: Suara Papua). After the release, he went to a doctor and received a medical examination of his injuries to get a written medical report (Visum) as an essential requirement in Indonesia to bring torture cases before a court.

When RW’s relatives came to the Polda Papua headquarters to report the torture allegations to the Propam Unit, a police officer at the entrance gate prevented her from entering. She was finally allowed to enter the headquarters and talk to an officer. However, the police officer only responded that they would take care of the issue. The relatives did not receive any written proof stating that Propam has officially received the complaint. Moreover, the relatives requested to check the security camera's recording, but their request was rejected. RW and his relatives intend to file the case to a court.

Impunity for perpetrators of the police and military remains among the critical issues for improving the human rights situation in West Papua. Human rights observers represent the view that almost all national human rights mechanisms in Indonesia need significant adjustments to guarantee that the perpetrators of torture and killings are processed before civilian courts following the international human rights standards.