News / Asia

Indonesians Use Sandals as Justice Symbol

Officials from Indonesia's Child Protection Commission collect sandals sent to their office in Jakarta by outraged citizens as part of a campaign to support a boy who was beaten by police and faces five years in jail for stealing footwear, January 4, 2012
Officials from Indonesia's Child Protection Commission collect sandals sent to their office in Jakarta by outraged citizens as part of a campaign to support a boy who was beaten by police and faces five years in jail for stealing footwear, January 4, 2012
Kate Lamb

The humble flip flop is being used as a satirical symbol of Indonesia's justice system this week, with mountains of the plastic sandals piling up on the doorsteps of police stations across the country. In protest of a juvenile being tried for petty theft, rights groups say the response highlights the public's growing frustration with an institution riddled with corruption.

The flip flops frenzy was sparked by the case of a 15-year-old student from Palu, Sulawesi, who allegedly stole a police officer's plastic sandals worth around $3.

The juvenile defendant, who was also interrogated and beaten by police, now faces up to five years in jail.

The case has sparked nationwide condemnation, with thousands of flips flops appearing on the doorsteps of police stations across the country.

Human Rights Watch coordinator Andreas Harsono says the spontaneous movement shows that Indonesians are growing increasingly contempt with their legal system.

"The fact that people today are dumping dozens of sandals into police stations, in many places, not only in one city, shows that the Indonesian public are fed up with the police," said Harsono.  "They are very angry. They see so much violence conducted by the police, injustice. And they see that the police are mostly corrupt."

The Indonesian police force is seen as one of the most corrupt institutions in one of the world's most corrupt countries.  But a string of recent, heavy-handed actions is fueling public discontent.

During the Christmas holidays, police shot and killed three people and injured seven others at a protest over a proposed mine in East Nusa Tenggara.  Critics say police should not have used live ammunition to control the crowd.

A week earlier, in Sharia-regulated Aceh, police detained 65 punk musicians without charge, forcing them to undergo a "re-education" process that included Islamic prayers and conservative haircuts.

Allegations that police were involved in the beheading of villagers near a palm oil plantation in Southern Sumatra also raised controversy last December.

Harsono says the police rarely investigate their own members for violations and, if they do, the punishments are insignificant. He says such incidents show the police force lacks serious professionalism.

"They are acting more like the military," added Harsono. "Seeing society members as enemies rather than as citizens that they should serve. There should be a lot more serious action toward the police, to reform the police other than only handing out the sandal. There should be concerted efforts to reform the police in Indonesia.

Two police officers have been detained for allegedly beating the 15-year-old who allegedly stole their flip flops.

One is awaiting a disciplinary tribunal while the other has been denied promotion for a one-year period. The boy's trial is expected to continue this week.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs