Jakarta

Drug users easy target
for abuse

The Jakarta Police said on Tuesday that they had arrested a man accused of conning the parents of a Lion Air pilot recently arrested for alleged drug abuse, after he told them he could help their son escape jail time.

“The suspect, AI, told the pilot’s parents that if they gave him a sum of money, he would ensure that the pilot would only be sent to a narcotics rehabilitation center in Lido, West Java,” police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto alleged.

The man was arrested Monday night in Bumi Serpong Damai, South Tangerang, Banten.

According to Rikwanto, the police have yet to uncover the motive for allegedly conning the parents of the pilot.

“We know from investigations that AI is currently undergoing treatment for heart disease. However, we can’t be sure if he was planning to use the money to help pay for the treatment or for other purposes,” he said.

The police confiscated several bank transfer slips as evidence. In total, the man allegedly conned Rp 600 million (US$66,600) from the pilot’s parents.

“Rp 150 million was handed over in cash, while the other Rp 450 million was through bank transfer,” Rikwanto said.

Extortion is one of biggest problems faced by drug users when dealing with the law enforcement.

The Human Rights Violation Monitoring Network (JPPHAM) and several other non-governmental organizations focussing on narcotics abuse, namely Forkon, Panazaba, Performa and EJA, revealed their findings on the law enforcement officer’ violations toward drugs users on Tuesday.

The group said that repressive legal approaches, a negative stigma attached to drug users and severe corruption among law enforcement bodies have run rampant in drug cases.

JPPHAM’s Yvonne Sibuea said that the survey found 139 violations against drug users in six provinces.

“We recorded 27 cases in Jakarta, 28 cases in West Java, 56 cases in Central Java, 26 cases in East Java, one case in Yogyakarta and one case in Lampung,” she said.

The respondents were suspects in drug cases investigated between 2007 and 2011.

Yvonne said that more than 90 percent of violations were committed by police officers.

The group also reported that 35.97 percent of violations were committed by police officers in regency or municipality levels, while 27.33 percent were done at district levels.

“Provincial-level police and officers from unknown levels contributed to 25.10 percent and 22.30 percent of violations respectively,” she said.

The group criticized the abusive measures taken by the police, who they considered to have breached the human rights of drugs users.

“We see that the police need to dig any information related with the map of the drugs dealing, but violating the users will not help much,” Forkon’s Herru Pribadi said.

Herru said that the police had implemented the “war on narcotics” wildly, beginning in 1997 following Indonesia’s first laws on narcotics and psychotropics.

Herru said that 76.25 percent of drug users surveyed acknowledged that they suffered physical abuse during investigations. He said that 51.07 percent had been tortured and 50.35 percent had undergone illegal searches.

“Some of the users, 33.09 percent, said that they were extorted by the police during the investigations. The amount of money might vary, from hundred thousands of rupiah to millions,” he said. “The police also threatened the users and seized their belongings.

“If they are merely drug users and not drug dealers, we should not treat them as criminals. Instead, we must see them as patients. Sick people deserve to get medical treatment.”

The drug users should also have rights to legal assistance, although only few of them get it.

“Sometimes legal aid agencies refuse to take drug cases.” he said. (mim/lfr)

Violations in drug cases

Physical abuses (105 cases) ---------- 76.25 percent
Tortures (71 cases) ------------------- 51.07 percent
Illegal searches (70 cases) ----------- 50.35 percent
Extortions (46 cases) ---------------- 33.09 percent
Intimidation (34 cases) -------------- 24.46 percent
Seizures (15 cases) ----------------- 10.79 percent

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