Indonesia: Struggle of a torture victim’s sister continues following unjust High Court’s judgments

(Hong Kong, October 08, 2013) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released the video of an interview with Yeni, a relative of Yusli who was physically assaulted and shot to death by three police officers in December 2011. Earlier in March this year, the Tangerang District Court sentenced two police officers named Ricky Sembiring and Hermanto to two years of imprisonment as well as another officer named Aan Triharianto for five years of imprisonment. The AHRC condemned the judgments as being too lenient and the court’s partial recognition on what had actually happened to Yusli.

The AHRC learned only last week that the Banten High Court has concluded its judgments on the appeal submissions lodged by the three police officers. We are utterly disappointed to learn that the High Court judges in charge of the case have reduced the sentences given to the police officers by the court at the district level. The judgments revised the sentences of Ricky Sembiring and Hermanto to one year of imprisonment and the sentence of Aan Triharianto to three years of imprisonment.

The release of this video is one of the responses of the AHRC to such unjust judgments by the Banten High Court. The video itself is a recorded interview of Yeni, the sister of Yusli, who has been consistently and tirelessly pursuing for justice for her brother. Yeni describes in the video how ‘justice as it is’ appears to be impossible for individuals who wish to take legal action against the police and other state officials. She also explains how state institutions have not been helpful or responsive to the complaints she submitted.


The state institutions’ attitudes in not taking torture cases seriously and their lack of willingness to support torture victims as described by Yeni in the video have sadly been continuing. Even though the judgments of the Banten High Court were concluded in May this year, Yeni were not aware of this fact until 3 October 2013. The AHRC’s recent phone conversation with her reveals how the prosecutors and the officials at the Tangerang District Court have made it very difficult for Yeni to access the High Court’s judgments. Only with the help of an NGO Yeni later managed to find the judgments available online on the official website of the Supreme Court.

The AHRC has written to relevant Indonesian authorities as well as several UN Special Procedures urging for their intervention in this case. We specifically call for a disciplinary tribunal against the three accused police officers which has not taken place as of today as well as their suspension from the office. The letters sent out by the AHRC also demand for independent and effective examination by the Supreme Court who at the moment is examining an appeal request on the case. In addition, the AHRC calls for thorough investigations against the prosecutors and the judges at the district and high levels who have not performed their duties in this case according to laws and human rights principles.