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May-03-2012 16:55printcomments

INDONESIA: Police Used Excessive Force Towards Protesters in Jakarta

William Gomes contacts Indonesia's president over a police attack on student demonstrators in Jakarta.

Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, President of Indonesia
Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, President of Indonesia

(HONG KONG) - Ransacked student buildings; damaged classrooms stained with the blood of protesting students who were naked and beaten and hiding from authorities; this is Jakarta today.

The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and Jakarta Legal Aid Institute were both raided by officers of the Jakarta Metropolitan Police and the Central Jakarta Sub-District Police on 29 March 2012 over an allegation that students committed violence during the demonstration against the government's plan on increasing the fuel price.

The students were hiding in the legal aid institutes' building. After the raid, 54 people were arrested. Fifty two of them are confirmed to be students; while one person was staff at the YLBHI, and the other was a street youth.

A car was burnt by a group of unidentified men who were also present at the demonstration held by the students from the campuses of Indonesian Christian University (UKI) and the Indonesian Administration Foundation (YAI). While it might be possible that these people escaped to YLBHI and LBH Jakarta's offices, the violence should be condemned at all costs.



May 4,2012
Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088
Fax: +62 21 344 2223

Dear President of the Republic of Indonesia,

Name of legal aid office subjected to illegal search: LBH Jakarta (Jakarta Legal Aid Institute), YLBHI (Indonesian Legal Aid Institute), GMKI (Indonesian Christian Students Movement)
Number of people affected: 72 arrested people

Name of people arrested (only those who signed power of attorney): Agung Wijaya, Jaka Braksen Waruw, Yulia Zuadirman, M Rizky Ramadhan, M Fachruzi, Afmalludin, A Fadillah, M Yasir, Abdul Rahman, Sukrin, Muh Fhery NI, Munawir, Benazir Mahalaum, Dyaifudin Bahri, Syaiful Bahri, Yoyok Prasetyo, Eko Syahputra Purba, Saur Nadapdap, Risal Sugiarto, Nukramin, Peter Hasudungan, Rizky Saputra, Aminullah Humaini, Joni Iskandar, Zulkarnain, Sugiarto, Irfan Hakim, Carlos Silalahi, Norman Yapono, Toni Syahputra, Destrian Rahmat N, Iswono Dwi Panji, Sulistiyono, Afgan Eka Bahtiar, Ridwan, Ahmad Suryana, Rizky Omtavian, Hanafi, M Nur Kholis, Jafar Sodik, Kuswara, Benson Andrian, Khairudin Mulhlis, Abdul Kadir Mulao, Sahri, M Lutfi, Rendi, Ari Anggara
Names of alleged perpetrators: The Metropolitan Police, Central Jakarta Sub-District Police
Date of incident: 29 and 30 March 2012
Place of incident: LBH Jakarta and YLBHIs office, GMKIâs secretariat, Jakarta

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News.com . I am writing to express my concern regarding the unlawful raid on the office of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and Jakarta Legal Aid Institute. The raid was conducted by officers of the Jakarta Metropolitan Police and the Central Jakarta Sub-District Police on 29 March 2012. The raid was conducted due to the allegation that students who committed violence during the demonstration against the government's plan on increasing the fuel price were hiding in the legal aid institutes' building. I was informed that after the raid, 54 people were arrested. Fifty two of them are confirmed students; one person was a staff at the YLBHI, whereas the other was a street youth.

I am aware that a Mobile Brigadier's car was burnt by a group of unidentified men who were present at the demonstration held by the students by the campuses of Indonesian Christian University (UKI) and the Indonesian Administration Foundation (YAI) and that it might be possible that these people escaped to YLBHI and LBH Jakarta's offices. However, whilst I condemn violence in any form, I regret that the raid on the legal aid organisations' offices was conducted not in accordance with the procedures established by the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP). Neither LBH Jakarta nor YLBHI knew that there were students hiding in their four-floor premises until the police found them. Both YLBHI and LBH Jakarta provided shelter for female students and those who were sick and could not participate in the protests.

I was told that the offices were forcibly searched while there was a negotiation ongoing between the police and the staffs of the legal aid organisations. I was also informed that several damages and blood marks were found in various parts of the offices and 47 students who managed to get inside the building and hide were naked and wounded. I am concerned that the police forcibly searched the building without any consent of YLBHI or LBH Jakarta, whereas as legal professional institutions, they enjoy the privilege to protect the confidentiality of their documents and their office subject to any search.

In addition to the raid and arrest in YLBHI and LBH Jakarta's offices, I learnt that on the next day, 30 March 2012, 150 police officers were deployed to raid the secretariat of the Indonesian Christian Students' Movement (GMKI) in Jakarta. The raid was conducted after the students ended their protests in Diponegoro Street, which was fairly peaceful. I am not aware of any violence taking place during the demonstration. As far as I am concerned, the 'most dangerous things' the students did was burning tires and wood in the street, with absolutely no threat to public security caused by the protest whatsoever.

Additionally, I was informed that there is an allegation that several members of the Indonesian National Military (TNI) were also deployed around the YLBHI, LBH Jakarta and GMKI offices on that day. Although they did not take any law-enforcement measures at that time, I would like to question the necessity of deploying them during the protests.

I have been informed that most of the arrested have been released on bail and that there were individuals who were released unconditionally since there was no proof that they were involved in any illegal or unlawful activities. I am writing to urge you to ensure that those who were falsely arrested be given adequate compensation, and those who remain suspects be treated in accordance with human rights standards, and their cases be investigated impartially and effectively. I would also like to request you to ensure that any allegation on violence and excessive use of force by the police is properly investigated. For the future, I am urging any law-enforcement officials to respect human rights at all times in performing their duties, in accordance with Indonesia's international obligations on human rights.

I look forward to seeing your swift and effective response to my requests.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News.com
www.williamgomes.org

______________________________

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.




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