Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Scales of justice: Indonesia police probe snake interrogation

Indonesia Cops Drape Snake Around Neck Of Suspect To Persuade Confession Indonesian police apologise for using snake to interrogate suspect
Jeannette Daniel | 12 February, 2019, 10:30

A Polish man, Jakub Skrzypski, who is being held in a Jayawijaya prison while on trial for treason said earlier this week he'd been assaulted by police officers visiting the prison as guards looked on.

Indonesian police have acknowledged officers terrorised a Papuan man with a live snake after a video of the incident circulated online showing the man screaming in fear and his interrogator laughing.

The audio captures officers appearing to question the suspect on how many times he had tried to steal mobile phones.

Eventually, the suspect admits to "only two times".

The man, who screamed during the ordeal as onlookers laughed, was suspected of having stolen a mobile phone.

Tonny Ananda Swadaya, a police chief in Paupua's Jayawijaya region, issued a statement apologizing for the interrogation methods after details of the incident emerged.

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Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, a spokesman for the police force is quoted by the Independent as saying that an internal investigation into the incident has been launched, saying that, "we apologise for the incident". "Institutionally we do not recognize such an unprofessional method of interrogation, and we guarantee that such an inhuman method will not happen again in the future".

Swadaya added that the officers had been acting on their own initiative to try get a confession, saying the snake was non-venomous and tame.

Indonesian security forces have been repeatedly accused of using excessive force and committing rights abuses against Papua's ethnic Melanesian population, including extrajudicial killings of activists and peaceful protesters. The former Dutch colony was made a part of Indonesia after a widely criticized UN-backed referendum in 1969.

Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman tweeted footage of the event, claiming officers had recently put a pro-Papua independence activist in a cell with a snake.

Koman has said a snake was also used during the interrogation of one of her clients in January. Such efforts have intensified after rebel militants killed 19 people working on the construction of a trans-Papua highway project in December 2018.

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