Indonesia police commitment to solving rape case questioned

Indonesia police commitment to solving rape case questioned

The National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) has criticised the police for not being serious about handling a rape case in Bekasi, West Java.

Komnas PA chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait questioned the police's professionalism, efforts to maintain security and order and efforts to enforce the law, after the Bekasi Police asked the rape victim's family to apprehend the rape suspect, identified as HS, who was the victim's stepfather.

He said if the police were unable to arrest the rape suspect, they should work harder and deploy an adequate number of personnel until the suspect was arrested.

"The Bekasi Police have yet to arrest HS as of now," said Arist, adding that five witnesses had even given statements to the police on April 24 after the police received a report from the victim on April 3.

"We question the commitment of the Bekasi Police in arresting HS. The police should not only question the witnesses but also arrest the rape suspect and bring him to justice before the court," Arist told The Jakarta Post on Friday by phone.

The police admitted they faced difficulties arresting the suspect, who works as public minivan driver. They said HS had fled and was constantly on the move in the regency to avoid capture.

Arist viewed the request made by the Bekasi Police to the family to apprehend the suspect as unusual.

"It's hard to believe that the Bekasi Police asked the victim's family to pursue and hold the rape suspect," he added.

The 17-year-old rape victim recently filed a report with Komnas PA and said her stepfather had repeatedly raped her since she was in junior high school.

Her uncle, who accompanied her when she filed the report, said the rape was revealed when the victim's mother died on April 1.

According to the uncle, the family and mourners learned of the alleged rape after the victim - who was hysterical after her mother died - told them of her plight.

"The situation was revealed when her mother died. She [the victim] was hysterical and she said she was afraid her stepfather would rape her again," quoted the uncle as saying.

The victim said her stepfather had raped her five times when she was in the third grade of junior high school.

"It took place in my mother's room in our house in Bekasi in 2012 after my stepfather asked me to massage him. He then held my hands and forced me to have sex with him," she said, adding that he also threatened to kill her if she told the police.

Arist said Komnas PA would provide legal assistance to the victim and help bring her stepfather to justice.

"We will also bring her to a psychologist," he said.

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