ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-060-2008
15 October 2008
[RE: UA-068-2007: INDONESIA: Brutal torture and sexual abuse by the
Banda Raya police]
INDONESIA: Court treats torture case as minor offence; police
responsible are freed
ISSUES: Torture; sexual abuse; fair trial; administration of justice;
rule of law
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated
information regarding the case of Mr. Hartoyo who was tortured and
sexually abused in January 2007 in Aceh. The Banda Aceh District
Court treated this case as a minor offence and let those responsible
Mr. Hartoyo and his partner were assaulted by about 16 civilians
while they were at home in Banda Aceh on 22 January 2008. The reason
being given is that they were homosexuals. They were taken to the
Bandaraya Aceh Sector Police at about 1:30am on January 23 where they
were severely beaten and sexually abused by police officers. (for
details, please see UA-068-2007
Even though this incident took place in January 2007, it is reported
that neither a proper investigation has been conducted nor has
on-going adequate information been provided to the victim. The
Bandaraya Aceh District Police, without notice, summoned Hartoyo to
give testimony at the Banda Aceh District Court on October 8, the
same day his trial was held.
It is reported that the police investigator earlier indicted the
accused under article 170 jo. 422 of the penal code (jointly and
openly commit violence against persons or property in relation to
making use of it to force a confession). After the investigation
process was set in motion, the prosecutor treated the case as a minor
Sugeng Budiyanto was appointed as judge in charge of this case.
Investigating officer Brigadier General Sudjono acted on behalf of
the Public Prosecutor. The defendants are police officers Rahmat
Hidayat, Wahyu Pratama, Wahyudi Saputra and Amrizal.
During the trial, the judge did not examine the perpetrated acts of
torture but rather focused on the sexual orientation of Hartoyo. He
further advised him to turn away from this sin. He gave the
impression that the accused should be allowed to beat and assault the
victim on the grounds of his different sexual orientation. In
addition, the investigating officer failed to demonstrate exactly how
the acts of torture were committed by the accused.
After Hartoyo gave his testimony, all of the accused accepted it
without objection. When being asked by the judge to say something to
the victim they apologized to him. Examination of the defendants
followed and shortly thereafter the judge read out his verdict. The
court decided that the four defendants be sentenced to three months'
imprisonment, six months probation and a fine of IDR 1,000 (USD 0.1).
The court gave its reasons for such a light punishment. The
perpetrators are police officers who are needed by their country, the
perpetrators confessed their acts, both parties forgave each other,
and the perpetrators committed a minor offence.
Please write letters to the Supreme Court, urging them to annul the
decision and deal with this case as a general criminal procedure. In
this way those responsible for the acts of torture will be properly
prosecuted and punished.
Please be informed that the AHRC has written separate letters to the
UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture, and independence of
judges and lawyers calling for intervention in this case.
INDONESIA: Court handles torture case as a minor offence; police
responsible are freed
Name of victim: Mr. Hartoyo, 32; local NGO worker at the Matahari
Foundation in Aceh
Accused: Rahmat Hidayat, Wahyu Pratama, Wahyudi Saputra and Amrizal
from Bandaraya Aceh Sector Police
Trial: Judge Sugeng Budiyanto, Banda Aceh District Court, 8 October,
Date of original incident: 22-23 January 2007 at Bandaraya Aceh
I am shocked to learn that police officers are responsible for the
torture and sexual abuse of Hartoyo at the Bandaraya Aceh Sector
Police Station. These offenses took place in the early morning of
January 23 200. The officers were freed due to improper investigation
and failure of a proper prosecution which provides them with de facto
According to information I have received, Haryoto with his partner
were taken to the police station by the accused at about 1:30am on
January 23, 2007. They were made to strip down to their underwear,
and were then viciously beaten and verbally abused by the accused.
Hartoyo said that the officers forced his partner to perform oral sex
on him. When he refused Hartoyo was again kicked and scolded. Then,
the victims still in their underwear were dragged to the courtyard in
the police station, made to squat on the ground and were sprayed with
ice-cold water. When he asked permission to go to the toilet, the
officers forced his partner to urinate on Hartoyo's head.
Addition information has it that Hartoyo was instructed by an officer
to introduce himself to the other detainees. When he stated that he
was a homosexual, the officer entered the cell and severely beat him.
The victims had been denied access to legal representations or to
visits by their relatives. Before their release on January 23, they
were forced to sign a written statement not to be involved in
'homosexual actions again'.
When the investigation started, the accused were indicted under
article 170 jo. 422 of the Penal Code which requires that the trial
be carried out under general criminal proceedings. But surprisingly,
at the trial on 8 October 2008, this case was dealt with under
article 352 of the Penal Code, 'minor maltreatment' which is only a
minor offence. As you are aware, the right to appeal by the victim is
removed once the case is handled as a minor offence and not within
general criminal proceedings.
I am informed that during the trial both the judge and the
investigating officer failed to show how the acts of torture and
sexual abuse were committed by the accused. Besides, the judge
advised him to turn away from sin and gave the impression that the
accused were allowed to beat and assault the victims on the grounds
that they had a different sexual orientation.
Even though all of the accused acknowledged their acts of torture and
sexual abuse and accepted the victim’s testimony without
objection, they were given light sentences. Three months'
imprisonment, six months probation and a fine of IDR 1,000 (USD 0.1)
The grounds were that the perpetrators were police officers whose
services are still needed by the country, who confessed their acts,
and who committed a minor offence. In addition, both parties already
forgave each other.
I am particularly disturbed that the perpetrators of these acts of
torture and ill-treatment received such lenient penalties. They are
not in accordance with the grave nature of their crimes. Under these
circumstances, I strongly urge you to denounce this trial process as
a misleading one. Establish a new trial process which will be carried
out under general criminal proceedings. This would ensure that the
perpetrators are properly prosecuted and punished according to the
law and in accordance with the norms of international human rights.
As shown in this case, lack of access to a lawyer, torture and
ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual abuse, improper
investigation and prosecution, and lenient penalties constitute de
facto impunity for the perpetrators and must be addressed. It will be
not only a mockery but a perpetuation of acts of torture and
ill-treatment if the perpetrators are not properly punished.
I also take this opportunity to remind the government of
the fact that as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and a state
party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) and Convention Against Torture (CAT), it has the obligation
to take specific actions. These are actions that will reinforce
prohibitions against torture and ill-treatment through legislative,
administrative, and judicial means. In the end these are the things
that will be effective preventions.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
Chief Justice Bagir Manan
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Jalan Medan Merdeka Utara No.9-13,
Tel: +62 21 384 35 57
Fax: +62 21 383 541
PLEASE SEND COPIES TO:
1. Mr. Hendarman Supandji
Kejaksaan Agung RI
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No. 1
Tel: + 62 21 7221337, 7397602
Fax: + 62 21 7250213
2. Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri
Chief of National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Tel: +62 21 721 8012
Fax: +62 21 720 7277
3. Mr. Andi Matalatta
Minister of Justice and Human Rights
JI. H.R. Rosuna Said Kav. 6-7
Fax: +62 21 525 3095
4. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Tel: +62 21 3925230
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>)
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the alleged brutal torture and sexual abuse of Mr. Hartayo, an NGO worker, and his partner Bobby while in detention, by the Banda Raya police between 22-23 January 2007 in Banda Aceh. The alleged underlying motive behind the detention, torture and sexual abuse of the victims is because they are homosexuals. We were also informed that the police made the victims to sign a statement to the Village Head Chief not to indulge in "homosexual actions again". The AHRC is deeply concerned that such brutal violence against the victims was committed without hesitation not only by the civilian attackers but also by the police whose mandate is to protect the rights of people. The AHRC calls for your urgent intervention into this case so that those responsible can be brought to justice as soon as possible.
On 22 January 2007 at around 11:30pm, the victim, Mr. Hartayo, a 32 year-old NGO worker in the Aceh province, was at home with his partner, Bobby, when two men (one of whom the victim identified as an employee of the local "Pesona" cafe below his boarding house) kicked down his front door and barged into his home, and proceeded to vandalize his property before assaulting both Mr. Hartayo and his partner. Mr. Hartayo and Bobby were then forced out of their home and ordered to go outside by their attackers, where a crowd of upto 15 people had gathered. The beatings and verbal abuse continued. Mr. Hartayo specifically recalled the words of one of his attackers; "You outsiders slander us; you soil our place with your filthy tricks!".
Mr. Hartayo was then ordered to immediately vacate the boarding house, and was marched back to his room to pack his belongings. Mr. Hartayo's ID card and wallet were taken from him, and he was then made to squat on the ground with his partner, while his attackers deliberated on what to do next. They eventually decided to inform the local police authorities.
At around 1:30am on January 23, 4 officers arrived at the scene in an official police vehicle. Mr. Hartayo and Bobby were then taken to the Banda Raya police station. There, both men were allegedly made to strip down to their underwear, and were then viciously beaten and verbally abused by the officers. In his testimony, Mr. Hartayo alleges that the officers sexually abused him and then forced his partner to perform oral sex on him. Mr. Hartayo started weeping and attempted to push his partner away, only to be kicked and scolded by the officers who took some perverse "enjoyment" out of their humiliation.
The victims were then dragged to the police station courtyard where they were made to squat on the ground in their underwear. Officers then sprayed them with ice-cold water from the courtyard hosepipe. At this point, Bobby asked the officers for permission to go to the toilet. The officers refused, and instead forced him to urinate on Mr. Hartayo's head.
Mr. Hartayo and his partner were then taken to a police lock-up, where they were detained until the morning. Mr. Hartayo requested several times to contact his family to inform them of what had happened (a basic human right when facing criminal detention); each time, his request was denied. While in his police lock-up, Mr. Hartayo was instructed by the officers to introduce himself to the detainee who already occupied the cell. When Mr. Hartayo innocently stated that he was a homosexual, an officer entered the cell and severely beat him. According to Mr. Hartayo, he was treated with complete contempt by all the officers he encountered during his detention.
At around 9:00am on 23 January 2007, Mr. Hartayo was finally allowed to speak to his fellow NGO co-workers, although for not longer than five minutes. Both Mr. Hartayo and Bobby were asked by representatives from the Aceh NGO Coalition whether they wanted to file a formal complaint; physically and mentally exhausted, both men decided not to pursue the case, and were then made to sign a statement to the Village Head Chief not to indulge in "homosexual actions again".
Said Mr. Hartayo of his ordeal; "I felt that my dignity as a human being had been trampled"