Bali Bombing

Indonesia probes anti-terror police ‘torture’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 2:57pm

Indonesian police said on Tuesday they would question dozens of anti-terror officers over the alleged torture of militants after a video posted on YouTube showed a suspect being shot and others abused.

The blurry 14-minute video posted by several Islamic groups on their websites and YouTube depicts officers forcing a man to strip to his underwear before they shoot him, apparently in the chest.

They continue to question him as police trample on three other shirtless terror suspects, who are face down on the grass with their hands bound, and shoot into the ground to intimidate them as they are verbally abused.

“We are still studying the video and plan to question all officers involved. We’ve determined it was a case of law enforcement in 2007,” National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told reporters, adding the source of the video was unknown.

Amar said the man who was shot, identified as Wiwin, had since been jailed over the beheading of three Christian girls in Poso in 2005, while the others were jailed for more than 10 years over other terror cases, including bombings.

Almost all the armed officers, wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets, were identified as members of the anti-terror squad Detachment 88, while several were from the police’s elite Mobile Brigade, Amar said.

The incident occurred in Poso, a known hotbed for militant activity on the island of Sulawesi where police have become the main target of militants and several bomb plots have been foiled.

The video sparked outrage among activists and Islamic groups, and there are concerns of retaliatory attacks in Poso, where two officers investigating an alleged militant training camp in October were found buried with their throats slit.

Detachment 88 was set up with US and Australian help after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and was followed by a string of other deadly attacks targeting Westerners, mostly blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah.

It has been on the frontline of a crackdown on terrorism that has weakened key militant networks.

However, several rights activists have criticised the anti-terror squad over its “shoot-to-kill” approach during raids on suspected militants.