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Graphic video of alleged torture by Indonesian forces

October 19, 2010

The video shows Indonesian security personnel in uniform torturing two suspected separatist rebels in the West Papua region. It is neither the first video, nor the first accusation of its kind.

The Special Forces Commandos (KOPASSUS) have been accused of human rights violations
The Special Forces Commandos (KOPASSUS) have been accused of human rights violationsImage: AP

The video, entitled Military Torture of Indigenous Papuans, was posted on YouTube last week but taken down this Monday, when it was released again by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a Hong Kong-based rights group. The more horrific scenes have been edited out of the latter version.

Scenes of torture, and victims

The video is in two parts, a representative of the group told the Reuters news agency by phone. The first part shows military officers in uniform hitting and kicking some villagers in an effort to get the names of separatists. The second part shows two people being tortured, one with a knife at his neck, while in another scene, an interrogator apparently tries to burn the other man's penis with a burning stick. - The Associated Press news agency reports that the body of one of the victims was reportedly found near a river soon after the torture. The other victim had not been traced.

Question of authenticity, past allegations

Police in Papua have questioned the authenticity of the video, while the Indonesian military chief, Agus Suhartono, said that the military would conduct an investigation. The military maintains a strong presence in Papua. The Papua police force is known to torture and abuse detainees. Similar allegations against the Indonesian police in the eastern province of Maluku were raised by the Australian media last month. Kopassus, the Indonesian special forces unit, is alleged to be responsible for the worst abuses. US-based Human Rights Watch has reported indiscriminate sweeps by Indonesian forces in West Papua.

Indonesia took formal control of the former Dutch colony in 1969. Since then, Papua has been home to a low-level separatist insurgency despite being granted regional autonomy in 2001.

Editor: Thomas Baerthlein