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Jakarta Post

Kontras records 643 cases of assault by police over course of year

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 5, 2019   /   06:24 pm
Kontras records 643 cases of assault by police over course of year A video showing a group of police officers beating an unarmed man near Al-Huda Mosque in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, fueled allegations that the police used excessive force in handling protests over the result of the April 17 presidential election. (JP/File)

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has recorded that, from June 2018 to May 2019, the National Police carried out hundreds of acts of violence under the shield of its "discretion rights".

In a thread of tweets on National Police Day on July 1, Kontras mentioned that it recorded 643 cases of assault carried out by on-duty police officers.

Kontras coordinator Yati Adriyani said on Monday as quoted by tempo.co that the alleged incidents resulted in 651 deaths, 247 injuries and 856 arrests. "We got the number based on reports from civilians as part of our participation to improve the police's accountability in carrying out their duties," she said.

According to Kontras, discretion rights allow police officers to commit acts based on their own judgment in any given situation.

"But it is difficult to measure whether the discretion rights are practiced within good conscience or not. In some cases it led to the loss of lives," said Yati.

Kontras said, in one case, a police officer wrapped a snake around an alleged thief during interrogation in Papua.

“Ironically, the cases were not tried under criminal law. Instead, the police officers were only punished through an ethical mechanism,” the tweet said.

“One of the cases recorded by Kontras is the shooting of Apria, a security guard who was accused of possessing methamphetamine and defying the officers. He died with nine bullets in his body. Is this fair?” the tweet said.

Kontras said there were cases of alleged police violence during the May Day riot in Bandung and the May 21-22 protests that ended in a clash in Central Jakarta.

“We also found indications of violent acts carried out by police officers over Papua issues, especially related to how the people of Papua and West Papua convey their aspirations and determine their own fate,” the tweet said.