Indonesia terror police probed in 'torture' video
By Angela Dewan ,AFPJAKARTA -- Indonesian police said Tuesday they would question dozens of anti-terror officers over the alleged torture of militants after a video posted on YouTube showed a suspect being shot and others abused.
March 6, 2013, 12:34 am TWN
The blurry 14-minute video posted by several Islamic groups on their websites and YouTube depicts officers forcing a man to strip to his underwear before they shoot him, apparently in the chest.
Several officers continue to question him and repeatedly shout “You're going to die” as he lies on the ground with a bloody head and face, telling him to ask forgiveness from Allah, as required by Muslims before dying.
At the same time, other officers trample on three other shirtless terror suspects, who are face down on the grass with their hands bound, and shoot into the ground to intimidate them while shouting at the men.
“We are still studying the video and plan to question all officers involved. We've determined it was a case of law enforcement in 2007,” National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told AFP, adding the source of the video was unknown.
Amar said the man who was shot, identified as Wiwin, survived the ordeal and had since been jailed over the beheading of three Christian girls in Poso in 2005.
The others were jailed for more than 10 years over other terror cases, including bombings, he added.
Almost all the armed officers, wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets, were identified as members of the anti-terror squad Detachment 88, while several were from the police's elite Mobile Brigade, Amar said.
The incident occurred in Poso, a known hotbed for militant activity on the island of Sulawesi where police have become the main target of militants and several bomb plots have been foiled.
The video has sparked outrage among activists and Islamic groups.
“This is a clear breach of human rights, and it's time for an official evaluation of Detachment 88,” Haris Azhar of the prominent rights groups Kontras said.
“They are guilty of extrajudicial killings of terror suspects, and there has not been a single case where those responsible for killing or torture of suspects have been held accountable.”
Azhar said the video and other cases of police brutality in Poso were likely to inspire retaliatory attacks in Poso, where two officers investigating an alleged militant training camp in October were found buried with their throats slit.
Several Islamic groups, from the country's moderate clerical body to hard-line organizations, demanded the officers involved be held accountable.
“As a Muslim, I feel sad and enraged after watching the video,” said Bilal Muhammad, editor-in-chief of the hard-line website Arrahmah.com, which posted the video.
“We'd heard reports about Detachment 88 abuse, like beatings and forced confessions, and this video only proves their brutality,” he said.
Detachment 88 was set up with U.S. and Australian help after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and was followed by a string of other deadly attacks targeting Westerners, mostly blamed on the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah.
It has been on the frontline of a crackdown on terrorism which has weakened key militant networks.
However several rights activists have criticized the anti-terror squad over its “shoot-to-kill” approach during raids on suspected militants.