Annual Report: Indonesia 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Indonesia 2011

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Head of state and government: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 232.5 million
Life expectancy: 71.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 37/27 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 92 per cent


The security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, and used excessive force against protesters, sometimes leading to death. No adequate accountability mechanisms were in place to ensure justice or act as an effective deterrent against police abuses. The criminal justice system remained unable to address ongoing impunity for current and past human rights violations. Restrictions on freedom of expression were severe in areas such as Papua and Maluku. Religious minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups faced violent attacks and discrimination. The maternal mortality ratio remained among the highest in the East Asia and Pacific region. No one was executed during the year.

Torture and other ill-treatment

The security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, particularly criminal suspects from poor and marginalized communities, and those suspected of pro-independence activities in Papua and Maluku provinces. Accountability mechanisms put in place to deal with violations remained inadequate.

  • Two videos emerged during the year showing members of the police and military torturing and otherwise ill-treating Papuan men. The first video showed Yawan Wayeni, a Papuan political activist, just before his death in August 2009. Despite severe abdominal injuries, he was denied medical assistance by the police, who accused him of being an insurgent. He had been arrested earlier by members of the Police Mobile Brigade at his house in Yapen Island, Papua. The second video published online in October showed Papuans being kicked and otherwise physically abused by members of the Indonesian military, and two Papuan men being tortured during interrogation. Indonesian officials confirmed the authenticity of both videos.
  • Yusuf Sapakoly, 52, died of kidney failure in a hospital in Ambon, Maluku province, after being refused access to adequate medical assistance by prison authorities. The father of four was arrested in 2007 for assisting a group of peaceful political activists who unfurled the "Benang Raja" flag, a symbol of South Maluku independence, in front of the Indonesian President. Yusuf Sapakoly required dialysis for kidney failure but was consistently denied treatment by authorities at Nania prison. He also said he did not receive adequate treatment for rib injuries he had suffered in detention.

Excessive use of force

The police used excessive force during arrests and to quell demonstrations, sometimes killing people.

  • In August, police opened fire on protesters, killing seven and injuring 20, at the Biau sectoral police station in Central Sulawesi province. The protesters had raided the police station, attacking police officers and burning motorcycles parked outside, in response to the death in custody of Kasmir Timumun. Several police officers were injured during the incident. According to local sources, Kasmir Timumun, aged 19, was found hanging in his cell on 30 August after being held for allegedly speeding and injuring a police officer. The police claimed that he had committed suicide, but his family alleged that there were signs of torture or other ill-treatment including bruises on parts of his body and neck. The family were denied access to his autopsy report.

There were concerns that counter-terrorism operations by the police that led to the deaths of at least 24 suspects did not meet national and international standards on the use of force.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression continued to be suppressed in some cases, with human rights defenders, journalists and other activists intimidated, harassed and sometimes killed.