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Indonesia must investigate torture video: Amnesty

Amnesty International today demanded Indonesia investigate allegations of torture by security forces in restive Papua province.

world Updated: Oct 20, 2010 10:23 IST

Amnesty International on Wednesday demanded Indonesia investigate allegations of torture by security forces in restive Papua province.

The demand came after a video was posted on YouTube last week apparently showing two Papuan men being tortured during questioning about a weapons cache.

"The release of this video is the latest reminder that torture and other ill-treatment in Indonesia often go unchecked and unpunished," the human rights group's Asia-Pacific Deputy Director Donna Guest said in a statement.

"We continue to receive regular reports about torture by members of the security forces. However, there are often no independent investigations, and those responsible are rarely brought to account before an independent court," she added.

Indonesian police and the military have said they would investigate the case in the remote eastern region, where a low-level separatist insurgency has been simmering for decades.

But Amnesty called for the government to appoint a National Human Rights Commission to lead the investigation and publish the findings while ensuring the safety of investigators, victims, witnesses and their families.

"The authorities must send a clear public message to all members of the security forces in Indonesia, especially in Papua, that torture and other ill-treatment is strictly prohibited at all times and, if it occurs, full criminal investigations will begin," Guest said.

The human rights group said it also had another video showing a Papuan political activist, reportedly arrested by police in August 2009, with severe abdominal injuries receiving no assistance just before his death.

Amnesty said it wrote to police in December last year asking for details about police abuse in the Nabire district of Papua but has not received a response and is unaware of any "independent and impartial" investigation.

From December 2008 to April 2009, police had used "unnecessary and excessive force" against demonstrators, injuring at least 21 people and "repeatedly beat and otherwise ill-treated" at least 17 during and after arrests, it said.

First Published: Oct 20, 2010 10:15 IST