News / Asia

Indonesia’s Anti-Terror Squad Slammed for Alleged Rights Abuses

Indonesia's anti-terror police stand guard at the site of a shooting at a hotel in Sanur on the Indonesian island of Bali, March 18, 2012.Indonesia's anti-terror police stand guard at the site of a shooting at a hotel in Sanur on the Indonesian island of Bali, March 18, 2012.
x
Indonesia's anti-terror police stand guard at the site of a shooting at a hotel in Sanur on the Indonesian island of Bali, March 18, 2012.
Indonesia's anti-terror police stand guard at the site of a shooting at a hotel in Sanur on the Indonesian island of Bali, March 18, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Kate Lamb
— A recently leaked videotape that allegedly shows members of Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad, Densus 88, torturing and beating terror suspects has renewed calls to re-evaluate the perceived impunity of the country’s anti-terror unit.
 
The video in question shows terrorism suspects, writhing on the ground with their hands bound behind their backs, being verbally tormented and physically abused by Densus 88 officers.
 
Reacting to the scenes of brutality, several of Indonesia’s most prominent Islamic organizations have called for the anti-terror squad to be dissolved.
 
The footage allegedly was shot in Poso, Central Sulawesi, also the location of an anti-terrorist operation that drew strong criticism from the national human rights body, Komnas HAM.
 
It is not the first time Densus 88 has been accused of trigger-happy tactics, rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.
 
Haris Azhar is the coordinator of Kontras, a human rights group that has investigated alleged rights abuses committed by Densus 88 in Poso, Maluku and Sumatra. He said the country’s counterterrorism squad has much for which to answer.
 
“Densus 88 has conducted a lot of torture, extrajudicial killings and also arbitrary harassment. For the last, I think, almost 10 years in Indonesia,” said Azhar.
 
Refusing calls to disband the anti-terror squad, partly funded and trained by the U.S. and Australia, the national police have responded to the wave of criticism by promising to investigate the alleged abuse.
 
What has received less attention so far is that the video is nothing new, and has been circulating since 2007.
 
Pointing out that the actions of Densus 88 raise legitimate questions, ICG terrorism analyst Sidney Jones said the current outcry is far from spontaneous. Jones said the real push to disband Densus 88 is coming from Islamic fundamentalists.
 
“I think there is a systematic campaign. It’s very clear there has been a systematic campaign led by some of the more radical organizations that see this as a way of effectively undermining the counterterrorism program of the government,” said Jones.
 
Jones regularly monitors content posted on radical websites and said such groups have been trying to co-opt mainstream Muslim organizations to support their campaign for more than a year.
 
Densus 88 was formed in 2003 after the Bali bombing, which claimed the lives of 202 people, including many foreigners.
 
While the squad has been lauded for its efforts to weaken Indonesia’s terror links, there is growing criticism of its poor human rights record.
 
The government says it is planning to establish a working committee to monitor the performance of Densus 88 in the near future.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid