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.
    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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora