INDONESIA: Padang police torture and shoot two men to obtain confessions

According to LBH Padang, an unidentified officer took Oki Saputra (19) to Padang Selatan Sub-District Police Station at 1.30 pm of 6 February, 2014. Oki was told that the police would like to question him on the motorcycle theft complaint lodged by his family two days earlier. Yet, upon his arrival at the police station, Oki was interrogated on a bag-snatch theft case took place in January 2014. Oki was electrocuted and beaten during the interrogation, but he insisted that he had not committed the crime. (Photo: Andi (left) and Oki (right) were shot by the police despite not posing threat or attempting to escape. Courtesy of LBH Padang)
At 3 p.m. of the same day, Oki was taken to Padang District Police Station for further interrogation. He was forced to confess to be the perpetrator of the bag-snatch and to name his accomplice. The officers beat Oki on his head and chest each time he denied his involvement in the accused crime. Under duress, Oki named one of his co-workers, Andi Mulyadi, to be his accomplice.
The police arrested Andi Mulyadi at the factory where he works in the late afternoon of the same day. His arrest was witnessed by at least 15 people. One of them told LBH Padang that Andi was arrested by four police officers in civilian clothes. None of the officers provide an explanation on the reason why Andi was arrested. Andi was taken to Padang District Police Station for interrogation. As what had happened to Oki, Andi was beaten and forced to confess to be responsible for the bag-snatch.
At 11 p.m., the police took Oki and Andi to two separate places. Oki was taken to a bridge by Taman Siswa, whereas Andi was taken to an empty building at H. Agus Salim Sport Centre. Both men were shot on their legs, despite not posing any threats or not attempting to escape. The police took Oki and Andi to a police hospital at 1 am of 7 February 2014. However, Oki was again taken to an unidentified location where he was shot at least six times in his legs. LBH Padang reported that Oki and Andi had not received adequate medical treatment for their gunshot wounds. One bullet remains in Andi’s leg as of today.
The police told the local media in Padang, such as Padang Ekspres and that the shootings were inevitable as Andi and Oki attempted to escape during the arrest. The police also told the media that Andi and Oki were the persons responsible for the bag-snatch theft took place in January 2014, contradicting the information from witnesses that both men were at work when the crime took place.
Andi and Oki are still being detained at Padang District Police Station, putting them at the risks of further reprisals.
Indonesia is a state party to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment (UN CAT). In spite of its ratification to the convention, torture remains widely practiced by state officials in the country, particularly by police officers. In 2010-2013, LBH Padang documented 63 cases of torture and violence in West Sumatra – one of Indonesia’s 34 provinces – alone. Amongst the 63 cases, only two of them have so far resulted in the punishment of the perpetrators.
The Indonesian constitution and several laws guarantee the right of everyone to be free from torture. The Chief of the Indonesian National Police (INP) have also issued a regulation prohibiting police officers to use torture in any circumstances. Under the Chief of the INP’s regulation No. 1 Year 2009, police officers can use firearms only to stop the action of a criminal suspect which pose imminent threats to life.
These sets of laws and rules, however, have been futile in eliminating the practice of torture in Indonesia. Torture as defined by the UN CAT is yet to be criminalised in the country and there is no effective and independent mechanism to monitor and to bring police officers to justice.