The Jakarta Post
The Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice (LBH APIK) has received a number of unannounced visits from police officers throughout the month as the organization is currently handling a case of alleged domestic violence.
The latest occurred on Friday, as a group of police officers from Matraman Police went without prior notice to LBH APIK’s office at Kramat Jati, East Jakarta. Officers from the East Jakarta Police were also with them at the time.
Matraman Police head Comr. Tedjo Asmoro told LBH APIK staff that Friday’s visit was just a silahturahmi (friendly meeting).
He was accompanied by a police officer identified as TR, who allegedly previously carried out a search of the offices without showing any warrants during two visits on Feb. 3 and 12.
LBH APIK had reported TR to East Jakarta Police’s internal affairs division (Propam) for alleged misadministration and abuse of power for those two searches.
“The police officers also let thugs enter the office’s front yard. They indeed caused psychological impacts for all staff,” LBH APIK legal team member Sri Agustini said.
During a visit on Feb. 3, dozens of people forcefully entered the LBH APIK offices in East Jakarta and threatened to damage it. Four of them claimed to be members of the Matraman Police, although neither of them wore uniforms nor brought a warrant.
LBH APIK sources said they believed the unannounced visits were related to a case being handled by the organization involving a 21-year-old woman identified only as DW. During one of the visits, the man leading the mob, identified only by the initials AA, accused LBH APIK of abducting and hiding his daughter, DW
The sources said DW went to the LBH APIK’s offices on Jan. 30 to ask for legal assistance. She reportedly told LBH APIK counselors that she had left her parents’ home for a week, accusing her parents of committing violence against her because of their disapproval of her boyfriend.
DW reportedly told the LBH APIK that several days after leaving home a police officer, TR, looked for her at her boyfriend’s house in Matraman, East Jakarta. TR later called DW and asked for a meeting.
She agreed to meet at the LBH APIK office on Feb. 3. During the meeting, DW explained the reason she ran away from home and gave a letter for her parents to TR. After the meeting, TR left and LBH APIK staff asked DW to leave.
Shortly after that, according to the LBH APIK, TR returned to the offices with another police officer identified as PR, accusing staff members of hiding DW and demanding to be allowed to search for her in the building. The staff members refused, forcing the two police officers to leave.
Sri said the organization urged the East Jakarta Police to continue the legal process involving DW professionally and independently. LBH APIK also requested the Jakarta Police to supervise the whole process.
“[TR] has apologized to us, but the legal process should continue,” Sri said. “We ask the National Human Rights Commission [Komnas HAM] to provide legal protection to human rights defenders, especially members of LBH APIK.”
East Jakarta Police’s criminal investigation department head, Adj. Sr. Comr. Hery Purnomo, said on Thursday that his team was still collecting statements from witnesses. “We will notify [LBH APIK] on the progress soon,” he said.
LBH APIK is one of a few leading organizations in Indonesia that focus on women's rights, campaigning for the elimination of violence against women and children, and accompanying the victims of sexual violence across the nation.
Activists said human rights defenders, especially those who are women, had received too many threats, intimidation and attacks far too often so they could no longer be seen as “ordinary obstacles.” (aly)