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Torture Remains a Serious Problem in Indonesia: AHRC

July 2, 2017

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/torture-remains-serious-problem-indonesia-ahrc/

Torture Remains a Serious Problem in Indonesia: AHRC
By : Sheany | on 10:37 AM June 30, 2017
Jakarta. The Asian Human Rights Commission, or AHRC, last week urged Indonesia to consistently implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, citing several areas of concern that have allowed torture to take place in the country, such as the absence of a national law to punish torture, its continued practice in police investigations and little accountability for perpetrators.

Despite having ratified the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1998, torture remains a serious problem in the archipelago.

"The government and the parliament have failed to develop high legal standards to prosecute and punish torture," the AHRC said in a statement to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Monday (26/06).

The AHRC highlighted several problems that prevent Indonesia from eliminating torture.

This includes a lack of an effective oversight mechanism for police, allowing power abuse as well as pretrial detention under the criminal code encouraging torture in custody.

Despite the government having issued a handbook of human rights to police officers, torture is often committed to extract confessions from suspects and witnesses.

As many victims of torture are mostly poor, uneducated people with little understanding of their legal rights and most torture cases involve suspects unable to access lawyers or public defenders, the Indonesian criminal justice systems suffer from shortcomings that allow the continued practice of torture.

The AHRC pointed out that the 2011 Legal Aid Law still proves ineffective for poorer members of the community facing criminal investigations.

"Until today, the Indonesian police are still the most frequent perpetrators of torture," the AHRC said in the statement.

Counterterrorism Efforts

Sunday’s suspected terrorist attack that resulted in the death of a police officer in Medan, North Sumatra, may serve as momentum to speed up the finalization of an ongoing revision of the 2003 Antiterrorism Law, currently deliberated by the House of Representatives.

Jakarta-based human rights group, the Setara Institute, said on Wednesday that the police need pretrial authority to prevent terrorist attacks.

Along with the rest of the world, Indonesia is gearing up to face increasing threats of terrorism. Giving police greater powers and ensuring that law enforcement officers can effectively prevent terrorism will become increasingly necessary.

However, Indonesia may need to address root problems in its criminal justice system to avoid severe violations of human rights in its counterterrorism efforts.

Despite having ratified the UN Torture Convention in 1998, Indonesia is still unwilling to establish a human rights court to address violations defined in the Human Rights Law of 2000.

Besides the human rights court, Indonesia has also been eliminating the crime of genocide from the law.

External Oversight

External oversight, which is crucial in bringing perpetrators to justice, still remains ineffective in Indonesia.

Independent state agencies, such as the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), fell short in their expected roles to ensure effective law enforcement in cases of torture cases and to contribute to the eradication of the practice.

"The government should develop high standards of law to prosecute and punish torture […] The government should also develop effective oversight mechanisms to ensure that all forms of torture and abuse of power conducted by state agents are punished, and that the culture of impunity is abolished," the AHRC said.

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http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/07/01/sabotage-ruled-out-in-freeports-pipeline-incidents.html

2) Sabotage ruled out in Freeport’s pipeline incidents

Jakarta | Sat, July 1, 2017 | 03:30 pm
The Papua Police said they had ruled out the possibility of an intention to commit sabotage being the motive behind recent cuttings of PT Freeport Indonesia concentrate pipelines at the gold and copper mining giant’s site in Mimika regency.

"So far, we still consider the incidents as purely criminal acts, as we have discovered similar previous cases,” Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said in Timika, as quoted by Antara on Saturday.

Over the past weeks, a number of concentrate pipes in the facility had been found to have been sawed through by unidentified perpetrators. The most recent occurrence took place on June 25, during the Idul Fitri Islamic holiday.

(Read also: Freeport gets red-carpet treatment, again)

Boy admitted that it was quite difficult to monitor Freeport Indonesia’s concentrate pipelines, which span from Tembagapura district to the Amamapare Port in the Far East Mimika district. Moreover, the pipeline also runs through the wilderness of the Papua forest.

"It will need extra effort to supervise,” he said.

In a recent meeting with Freeport Indonesia management, Boy said that detection equipment, such as CCTV cameras, was needed at every critical point of the concentrate pipeline. (dis/hwa)

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https://fronteranews.com/news/asia/indonesia-to-tighten-counterterrorism-following-concern-of-islamic-states-spread-across-southeast-asia/

3) Indonesia To Tighten Counterterrorism Following Concern Of Islamic State’s Spread Across Southeast Asia
By Alexander Macleod -01 Jul 2017

New measures to combat extremism have been tabled in Indonesia. Although at first glance they seem logical given the growing regional militant threat – particularly from the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi – upon closer inspection they come attached with broader risks. As concern grows that Islamic State’s (IS) influence is spreading across Southeast Asia, Indonesia has revealed plans to tighten its counterterrorism legislation. Relative to Indonesia’s massive population, IS sympathisers are only thought to number in the thousands, with several hundred having left to fight in Iraq and Syria. Nevertheless, the spectre of terrorism looms large, particularly given the ongoing conflict in Marawi (less than 400km from Indonesia’s northernmost island of Miangas, North Sulawesi). Over 40 Indonesian fighters are thought to have fought in Marawi, reflecting deep and enduring cooperation between regional militant groups. Tightened legislation should prevent battle-hardened Indonesian youths from orchestrating future attacks on home territory. But this article will examine the negative implications this could have for Indonesia going forward.

The proposed changes

Indonesia is to introduce a new law to enable authorities to imprison returning fighters for up to 15 years. Law enforcement agencies will be given the ability to detain terror suspects without trial, and the definition of terrorism will be broadened to incorporate those propagating hate speech; partaking in paramilitary training; or who are members of a banned extremist group. At a cabinet meeting in May, Jokowi expressed support for a greater role for the Indonesian military (TNI) in counterterrorism operations. That meeting fell several days after a suicide bombing in East Jakarta that killed three policemen. As discussed below, if implemented this measure could prove highly problematic. The Security Affairs ministry also seeks to ban two Islamist groups: Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) – which played a controversial role in the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Tackling IS activity

These measures come at an important time in Indonesia. Despite Jokowi’s drive for economic liberalism and democracy, the Jakarta gubernatorial election showed that Indonesia’s democratic and liberal progress mustn’t be taken for granted. In contrast, illiberal, hardline Islamist forces are gaining traction. Orthodox Sunni Islamic teachings have become increasingly dominant over recent years, providing fertile ground for IS-friendly views for growing and prospering. In Indonesia, a lack of specific legislation has stifled law enforcement authorities from detaining returning fighters. Arsla Jawaid does note that most known documented returnees were those who had not actually managed to enter the Middle East anyway. However, the case of Marawi is a different question altogether. Marawi represents the first cohesive, coordinated and sustained attack by IS-linked militants in Southeast Asia, and has changed the narrative regarding the regional terror threat. As IS loses ground in Syria and Iraq, and seeks to consolidate a ‘caliphate’ in the Southern Philippines, similar attacks in Southeast Asia are likely. Nevertheless, according to Jawaid it will still be hard for authorities to prove that certain citizens partook in fighting abroad. Enhanced police powers should prove useful for tackling the operations of Katibah Nusantara, the South-east Asian wing of IS that spreads propaganda and conducts recruitment and training operations. But combined, those measures will not work as effectively as they do in Malaysia and Singapore, whose smaller populations can be better monitored and contained. Executing these powers across such a complex geographical entity, in terms of logistics, manpower and infrastructure will prove difficult to manage. The case is made more complex when considering the conservative Islamic region of Aceh which is semi-autonomous.

The military’s role

Delegating more responsibility to the army could enhance Indonesia’s terrorism prevention capabilities. Utilising the TNI’s manpower would mean having more boots on the ground. Last year the TNI was lauded for the killing of Santoso – Indonesia’s most-wanted militant – in Poso, Central Sulawesi. According to Francis Chan, that incident was pivotal to strengthening the case for them to play a greater counterterrorism role. However, a military with enhanced domestic power could lead to abuses of power, infringing upon democracy and civil society. The military became notorious for committing atrocities during the Suharto era. Despite sweeping reforms introduced after the fall of Suharto, specifically designed to keep the military in check, this reputation has never been fully eradicated – as the allegations of atrocities in West Papua suggest. Such involvement would thus likely serve as a ‘last resort’. Nevertheless, Jokowi’s proposal was endorsed by the Gerindra Party, the party led by Prabowo Subianto, formerly a general under the Suharto regime. Prabowo was Jokowi’s main opponent in the 2014 presidential election and is seeking to challenge him again in 2019. If Gerindra regains power and implements Jokowi’s proposal, this could set back the country’s progress. As it is, Indonesia already has an effective counterterrorism unit. Detachment 88 was formed with the aid of the US and Australia after the 2002 Bali bombings. It has successfully targeted and dismantled terror cells ever since, foiling numerous potential attacks. Jawaid observes that last year alone, Detachment 88 purportedly arrested 137 alleged terror suspects. That year it foiled 15 attacks, including the Batam Island plot involving Singapore.

Softer measures neglected

It is important that, in targeting harder counterterrorism measures, softer measures are not neglected. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, deradicalisation programmes have had ‘limited success’. Deradicalisation programmes are allegedly abused by some detainees in order to reduce their sentence. Consequently, repeat offences are common. The perpetrator behind the January 2016 Jakarta attack, Bahrun Naim, was already a convicted terrorist but was somehow released and subsequently went on to mastermind that attack. The problem of prison recruitment remains critical. As J.C. Liow states, ‘corruption, incompetence, poor monitoring, and poor supervision of visits’ have contributed to the ease with which radical ideologies spread and consolidate within prison institutions. Effective monitoring of released convicts has also been neglected. This surprises Jawaid, considering the likelihood that a lack of economic opportunities and limited skill-sets will push convicts back to jihadism.

Immediate risks remain

Pushing through new anti-terror legislation quickly and efficiently requires immense political will, but it is likely to be approved. The legislation will only come into effect in September, though some officials are hoping that it is implemented sooner. This is certainly in the national interest; over the coming months, Indonesian militants will likely return from Marawi, battle-hardened and with combat experience. This is a time for authorities to be extra-vigilant. Admittedly, for a country of its size, Indonesia has done remarkably well to prevent extremist violence planned by large militant groups. But it is vulnerable to occasional small-scale ‘lone wolf’ attacks – any one of which has the potential to cause mass casualties. According to Jonathan Tepperman, Indonesia’s counterterrorism programme has worked ‘through luck as much as skill and improvisation as much as strategy’. It remains to be seen whether the proposed changes will improve upon this already successful formula.

Alexander Macleod is a doctoral researcher at Newcastle University with a focus on Southeast Asian politics and geography. Article as appears on Global Risk Insights: http://globalriskinsights.com/2017/06/new-indonesia-counter-terrorism-measures-deserve-scrutiny/ This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Frontera and its owners.
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