June 23, 2010
EU-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue Should Take up Cases of Imprisoned Activists
A new report titled "Prosecuting Political Aspiration" by The New York-based Human Rights Watch urged Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately release more than 100 Papuan and Moluccan political prisoners and revoke the laws under which they were jailed. The Indonesian government should act now to ensure that a European Union-Indonesia dialogue on human rights scheduled for June 29, 2010, in Jakarta will get off to a successful start, Human Rights Watch said.
The 2007 Flag Unfurling and Its Violent Aftermath
On 29 June 2007, during the National Family Day festivities at Merdeka Stadium in Ambon, 28 Alifuru men performed the ‘Cakalele’ dance (a traditional Maluku wardance) in front of Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Ambon, Maluku province, Eastern Indonesia. At the end of their performance, the Moluccan dancers displayed the ‘Benang Raja’ flag, symbol of South Maluku independence, before central government, foreign and provincial officials. Police arrested 22 of the dancers, subjecting them to severe beatings and torture during their interrogation and detention. They were sentenced to between seven and 20 years’ imprisonment.
Human Rights Watch said its 43-page report was based on 50 jail interviews with the political prisoners. The report also details torture that many say they have suffered in detention, especially by members of the Detachment 88/Anti-Terror Squad in Ambon
In one case cited in the report, Reimond Tuapattinaya, a Maluku activist arrested in June 2007, said he was beaten by members of the Detachment 88 police anti-terrorist squad.
Extract of the 50 jail interviews
Reimond Tuapattinaya is serving a seven-year prison term for treason.
Police arrested Moluccas activist Reimond Tuapattinaya on July 2, 2007. The police had previously raided a house that they suspected was being used by the National Family Day dancers, and found a DVD showing Tuapattinaya involved in a flag-raising ceremony in the Siwang area, outside of Ambon. Members of the Detachment 88/Anti-Terror squad tortured him extensively for 14 days in their headquarters in Tantui, Ambon.
Tuapattinaya told Human Rights Watch, “We were tortured worse than Jemaah Islamiyah [militant Islamist] activists. We were stripped naked, only in our underwear, forced to sleep directly on the tile floor. Early in the morning, we were ordered to crawl. We were kicked, beaten, trampled. If they held an iron bar, we got the iron bar. If they held a wooden bat, we got the wooden bat. If they held a wire cable, we got cabled. Shoes. Bare hands. They used everything. The torture was conducted inside Tantui and the Moluccan police headquarters. I was tortured for 14 days in Tantui, day and night. They picked me up in the morning, and returned me, bleeding, to my cell in the evening.”
“One of them [involved in the torture] was the detachment commander…. He’s not an Ambonese,” Tuapattinaya told Human Rights Watch. “But most of the detachment interrogators were Ambonese. They all wore civilian clothes.”
Ferdinand Waas is sentenced for 10 years
Ferdinand Waas, born in 1948, was an Indonesian Army officer, stationed in East Timor in the 1980s and 1990s. After his retirement at the rank of captain, he joined the RMS. He allowed RMS activists to use his house to plan the pro-independence dance at Merdeka Stadium in June 2007. He was arrested and in October 2007, an Ambon district court found him guilty of treason and sentenced him to ten years in prison.
The Waas are the ruling raja family in Hutumuri village, Ambon. His father, Dominggus Waas, replaced his grandfather as the village raja. Ferdinand joined the Indonesian Army and served at the Ambon-based 731st Infantry Battalion and later with the 733rd Para Battalion.
In 1985, Ferdinand Waas served in East Timor in an Army territorial command post in Manufahi regency. In 1992-1997, the army appointed him to the Same town council in the Manufahi regency.
In 1999, he retired from the army and returned to his village Hutumuri. The villagers asked him to be their raja and in 2005, the Indonesian government officially inducted him as the Hutumuri village head.
At the planning meeting in Hutumuri on June 27, 2007, he advised the Aboru dancers not to bring any metal equipment because such equipment might create the impression that the dancers were planning violence. “Their spears, their swords, were all made from wood,” he said. He also advised the dancers on how to get identification cards to permit entrance to the stadium.
He was arrested along with the dancers at the stadium and detained at the Detachment 88/Anti-Terror in Tantui, Ambon. He said police officers beat him with billiard sticks, pieces of wood, and iron bars. “They knew I was an army captain, so I think they beat me harder, as if I was younger,” he said.
Johan Teterisa - Elementary school teacher. Teterisa is serving a 15-year prison
He says that when he refused to sign the document, police beat him almost continuously for at least 12 hours every day for 11 days. Several beat him with iron rods and stones, and slashed him with a bayonet. On June 30, 2007, four Detachment 88 officials beat him repeatedly with sticks and outside the unit’s office, kicked and pushed him down to the nearby Ambon sea, and continued beating him in the water. In another instance, officials kicked Teterisa out of a second floor room and down a set of stairs. Teterista told Human Rights Watch that his chest was crushed, a number of his ribs were broken, and he was covered with black bruises.
When the interrogators realized that torture was not working to compel Teterisa to sign the letter, other officials came in and tried a softer approach, saying if he signed the letter, the Ambon government would provide some funding to increase fisheries in Teterisa’s home area of Aboru. He refused. The officials then offered to guarantee that if Teterisa cooperated, they would provide support for Teterisa’s three young sons to finish their education up to the college level, but he again refused.
At 11 p.m. one night in July 2007, some officers brought him to Merdeka Stadium to see the dancing site. He was handcuffed and walked there at gun point. He told Human Rights Watch: “I kept on praying. I expected to be slaughtered that night.” He said this was because “I have refused their request. The Indonesian media in Ambon also put so much pressure on me. I think they had only one option left: killing me.” The officers never removed his handcuffs but Teterisa said that he was shown to a higher ranking official who was not identified, and then taken back to detention.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Prosecuting Political Aspiration
(Downlaod report at http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/06/23/prosecuting-political-aspiration-0 )