In­done­sia po­lice de­mote of­fi­cers who fired at Pa­puan crowd

The Myanmar Times - - Asean Focus -

IN­DONE­SIAN po­lice have de­moted two of­fi­cers who fired at a crowd of protest­ing Pa­puan vil­lagers, killing one man, in a de­ci­sion that rights groups said was too le­nient and shows a chronic lack of ac­count­abil­ity for abuses in Pa­pua.

Pa­pua prov­ince po­lice spokesman Ah­mad Musthofa Ka­mal said Tues­day that a na­tional po­lice ethics panel made the de­ci­sion two weeks ago af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Aug. 1 shoot­ing by para­mil­i­tary po­lice. The of­fi­cers were de­moted for two years and also or­dered to make pub­lic apolo­gies.

The con­fronta­tion be­tween po­lice and vil­lagers erupted af­ter work­ers at a com­pany in a re­mote area re­fused to take a dy­ing vil­lager to hos­pi­tal. A 28-year-old man died in the shoot­ing and sev­eral oth­ers were in­jured in­clud­ing two chil­dren.

Hu­man Rights Watch said the de­mo­tions of the two of­fi­cers, their pla­toon com­man­der and a lo­cal po­lice chief were a “wrist slap.” Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s In­done­sia ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor also con­demned the rul­ing, lo­cal me­dia re­ported.

“Un­til Pres­i­dent Joko ‘Jokowi’ Wi­dodo de­liv­ers on his prom­ises to ad­dress hu­man rights abuses in Pa­pua, ex­pect apolo­gies, not jus­tice, for fu­ture po­lice killings of Pa­puans,” U.S.-based Hu­man Rights Watch said in a state­ment.

In­done­sia main­tains a sig­nif­i­cant po­lice and mil­i­tary pres­ence in the volatile prov­inces of Pa­pua and West Pa­pua, a min­eral-rich re­gion where a decades-long sep­a­ratist move­ment sim­mers and the pre­dom­i­nantly Chris­tian indige­nous peo­ple re­sent an in­flux of Mus­lim In­done­sians.

“The life of a Pa­puan is worth only an apol­ogy. This is the law in In­done­sia,” Vic­tor Mam­bor, the ed­i­tor of Pa­puan news site Tabloid­jubi.com, wrote on Face­book.

Ka­mal said the two of­fi­cers had mis­in­ter­preted com­ments from their com­man­der dur­ing the con­fronta­tion and filled their magazines with live am­mu­ni­tion.

He said a crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion could not pro­ceed be­cause the of­fi­cers’ ac­tions were akin to self-de­fence and wit­nesses re­fused to be ques­tioned by in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

In­done­sia re­stricts for­eign jour­nal­ists from re­port­ing from its two eastern­most prov­inces de­spite Jokowi’s an­nounce­ment in 2015 that the me­dia were free to travel there. – AP

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