Amnesty wants impartial probe of Indonesia police violence

Amnesty wants impartial probe of Indonesia police violence

Riot police prepare to guard the area near Indonesia's constitutional court during a hearing on the opposition challenge to April's presidential election result in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 18. (Reuters file photo)
Riot police prepare to guard the area near Indonesia's constitutional court during a hearing on the opposition challenge to April's presidential election result in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 18. (Reuters file photo)

JAKARTA: Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality and unlawful killings during post-election riots in the Indonesian capital last month.

The rights organisation said Wednesday in a publicly released letter to President Joko Widodo that it has credible evidence of a range of grave violations by paramilitary police, who it alleged were responsible for 10 unlawful killings.

Officially, nine people died in what police said were orchestrated riots in Jakarta after results released May 21 confirmed Widodo was re-elected president with 55.5% of the vote.

Police have acknowledged disproportionate violence by some officers after a video showed 10 members of the paramilitary police kicking a man and beating him with rifles and batons in the parking lot of a Jakarta neighbourhood. An internal investigation is being conducted, according to police.

Amnesty International said at least four other men were beaten in the same incident and one was so badly injured he was admitted to an intensive care unit.

The group said some protesters were violent but accused police of not distinguishing between those engaged in peaceful assembly and rioters.

The losing candidate in the April 17 presidential election, former Gen Prabowo Subianto, has alleged massive election fraud and says he was the winner, repeating tactics used when he lost in 2014 to Widodo. Indonesia's top court is set to rule Thursday on Subianto's legal challenge to the election result.

National police chief Tito Karnavian has said that demonstrations won't be allowed outside the Constitutional Court on Thursday. Some 28,000 police and 17,000 military personnel will be deployed for security in Jakarta.

An inquiry by Indonesia's Human Rights Commission has concluded that police committed human rights violations during the May 21-22 riots, but it only has the power to send its report to the police's internal affairs division, Amnesty International said.

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