There have been repeated reports of abuses by the military and police, but foreign journalists are banned from entering Papua without special permission.
Tom Allard, Jakarta
A GRAPHIC video has emerged of a Papuan man being poked in the genitals with a fiery stick as he is interrogated by men who appear to be members of Indonesia’s security services.
The Papuan man, stripped naked, bound and with one of the interrogators placing a foot on his chest, is being asked about the location of a cache of weapons. After telling his interrogators the weapons were hidden in a pig pen, one of them screams at him: ”You cheat, you cheat.”
Another interrogator then says ”get a fire, get a fire” before a colleague administers the torture with a stick that has been placed in a fire and is smouldering. The man screams in agony, and does so again when the stick is again pressed against his genitals.
The video appears to have been taken with a mobile phone by one of the interrogators, who speak with Javanese and Ambonese accents and wear plain clothes. While it is common for Indonesian police and troops to wear civilian clothing, it is impossible to verify that those in the video are members of the security services. But the nature of the interrogation suggests professionals at work, as does a later incident in the 10-minute video when an M-16 rifle is pointed at the man’s mouth.
”So you want me to shoot your mouth? So your mouth breaks?” the interrogator shouts.
The Age was unable to get a response from the Indonesian military or police late yesterday.
The emergence of the video – it was posted on YouTube three days ago by someone with the moniker papualiberationarmy and obtained independently by The Age – comes as the Indonesian government faces criticism about abuses by its security forces in Papua, where a long-simmering separatist struggle has been waged.
Despite a special autonomy deal given to the province by Jakarta almost 10 years ago, the region’s indigenous Melanesian people remain the country’s poorest, while migrants from other parts of Indonesia flood into the resource-rich area and dominate business and paid employment, further marginalising the Papuans.
There have been repeated reports of abuses by the military and police, but foreign journalists are banned from entering Papua without special permission and non-government groups, including the International Committee for the Red Cross, have been told to leave in the past year.
Two Papuan victims are in the video, one naked and being burnt while the other is clothed and has a large knife placed under his nose. At one point, one of the interrogators says: ”I’ll cut your throat.”
The footage is graphic, with the men being hit and threatened throughout the interrogation.
The victims speak in the Papuan dialect Lani, strongly suggesting the video was filmed in Puncak Jaya, a regency in Papua’s highlands where a unit of the armed Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM) commanded by Goliat Tabuni has launched sporadic attacks on police and military posts in the past two years. Numerous weapons have been stolen in the raids and at least four soldiers and policemen killed.
The Indonesian government has bolstered security in the region, sending members of the national police’s mobile brigade and anti-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, to the region.
While separatist sentiment remains strong among many Papuans, there is little international support for their objectives. Australia recognises Indonesia’s sovereignty over the region.