Amnesty condemns police brutality in Indonesia

London-based human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI), called on Indonesian police officers to stop using excessive force when dealing with peaceful demonstrations in the country.

In a statement released on Tuesday, AI charged Indonesia's police with beating, shooting and even killing people with no fear of prosecution, leaving their victims with little hope of receiving justice.

AI's Indonesia Campaign Coordinator, Josef Roy Benedict, said an independent body should be set up to properly investigate all allegations of human rights violations but with a mandate to enable it to submit its findings for prosecution.

"So far, most police personnel who are accused of misconduct are only subjected to internal proceedings," Josef said.

He added that despite over a decade of reform, police officers continue to be implicated in cases of shooting and beating individuals taking part in peaceful protests and land disputes, as well as heavy-handed treatment of suspects during regular arrests.

Josef said Indonesia had no independent national body to effectively deal with public complaints about alleged human rights violations by police.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the National Police Commission can accept complaints by the public about police misconduct, but they have no authority to refer the cases to prosecutors.

AI reported that in December 2011, three people were killed and dozens injured when 100 people peacefully blocked a road in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, in a protest over a mining exploration permit.

Around 600 police personnel, including members of the police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob), were dispatched to disperse them.

According to the group, the Bima Police chief ordered officers to use force to quell the protest.

In the subsequent internal disciplinary proceedings, five police officers were reportedly punished with three days detention for beating and kicking protesters who put up no resistance.

In North Sumatra, in a land dispute in June 2011 Brimob officers, who were attempting to forcibly evict a community in Langkat district, reportedly fired tear gas as well as live and rubber bullets at villagers defending their homes, injuring at least nine people.

Become a fan on Facebook