The Jakarta Post
Human rights activists will treat the case of Siyono, an alleged terrorist, who died during interrogation by the National Police’s counterterrorism squad Densus 88, as a criminal investigation, after an autopsy confirmed that torture was the cause of his death.
"We want to take Siyono's case further with criminal sanctions, not just an ethics hearing [for the police]," said Muhammadiyah youth wing chairman Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak during a hearing with House of Representatives’ Commission III overseeing legal affairs in Jakarta, on Tuesday.
Attending the hearing included representatives of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras). They conveyed to the Commission their findings about Siyono’s death.
Counterterrorism is indeed a priority for Indonesia as any other country, however, the mechanisms used should be in accordance with law and the national ideology, Pancasila, Dahnil said.
He expressed his concern that counterterrorism efforts in Indonesia still neglected human rights principles and such violations still had not been addressed by those in government.
Siyono was one among 121 other victims of Densus 88's counterterrorism operations that either neglected human rights principles, were allegedly conducted without warrants or involved torture, in which the autopsy results had proven in Siyono's case, Dahnil said.
Commission III deputy chairman Desmond J. Mahesa of the Gerindra party said there should be criminal sanctions for police officers who have been proven guilty of violating procedures.
Komnas HAM’s investigation revealed suspected attempts by the police to hide the facts behind Siyono's death, including suspending his death announcement, giving bribe money and preventing the autopsy from taking place, Komnas HAM chairman Imdadun Rahmat said.
The money given secretly by Densus 88 to Suratmi and Wagiyono, Siyono's wife and brother, which amounted to Rp 100 million (US$7,619), had reportedly come from the elite squad's own budget, in which Komnas HAM had also asked for the Commission III to probe.
Densus 88 and the local administration of Pogung Village in Klaten, Central Java, the residence of Siyono, had also allegedly urged Siyono's family to sign a statement letter that barred the family from filing a lawsuit or demanding an autopsy, Imdadun said.
There was also inconsistency in the police's statements that explained how Siyono was killed inside a car after three members of Densus 88 arrested him in Pogung, Imdadun said.
Based on the investigation, Imdadun said, the police had violated Siyono's rights as an Indonesian citizen, particularly freedom from torture and the right to life, which are protected under both national and international law.
"Siyono's death also resembled many other counterterrorism cases that involved death outside the court process, the use of torture, and procedural violations on detention and arrest," Imdadun said.
The results of Siyono's autopsy, made public on Monday, revealed a differing cause of death from what the police had claimed, showing that Siyono died from a breastbone fracture in which one of the bones pierced his heart, Komnas HAM commissioner Siane Indriani said.
This contradicts a previous police statement that announced Siyono had died from a brain hemorrhage after attempting to escape after fighting with the officer escorting him by car. (bbn)
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