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Jakarta Post

Netherlands appeals court ruling that finds it liable for Indonesian's torture

  • Dyaning Pangestika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, October 13, 2018   /   05:51 pm
Netherlands appeals court ruling that finds it liable for Indonesian's torture Indonesian veteran Yaseman, 89, testifies before the Court of The Hague in the Netherlands via Skype. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)

The Dutch government has appealed a court decision that holds it liable for abuse and torture against an Indonesian man while he was held captive by the Dutch army in 1947.

Yaseman testified before a district court in The Hague, the Netherlands, through Skype in July 2017, saying that he was abused while in detention and during questioning by the Dutch army more than 70 years ago. 

“On July 18 this year, the court in The Hague stated as proven that Dutch soldiers smashed the skull of the captured Yaseman with a stick in 1947 and put out a cigarette on his head,” the Committee of Dutch Honor Debts (KUKB), which is providing legal advocacy for Yaseman, said in a statement on Thursday.  

The ruling required that the state pay Yaseman’s relatives 5,000 euros (US$5,787), it added.

Yaseman himself did not get a chance to hear the ruling as he died shortly after giving his testimony. He was 89.

KUKB chairman Jeffry Pondaag lamented the Dutch government’s move to appeal the ruling. “Beyond a doubt, this is a violation of human rights of the first order,” he said in the statement.

Yaseman’s lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld echoed Jeffry’s sentiment, saying, “It is a known fact that the Netherlands engaged in large-scale torture during the independence war. Of all the victims, only one has registered with the court, and that is Mr. Yaseman. It is a shame that the state will not take responsibility, even for this one case."

Yaseman was arrested by the Royal Dutch Indies army in 1947 when he was 18 years old on suspicion of being an Indonesian independence fighter. During his 13 months of captivity, Yaseman said he was tortured in a variety of ways, including waterboarding and electrocution.