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  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:36am
NewsAsia
INDONESIA

Indonesian police officers held over beatings in video posted on YouTube

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 2:16am

Five Indonesian policemen have been arrested over the alleged torture of militants after a video posted on YouTube showed suspects being shot and abused.

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

"We arrested five policemen today, and others are still being questioned," national police detective chief Sutarman said in a text message on Thursday, without giving further details.

He said earlier that the video was a compilation of two separate incidents, one from 2007 and another from last year, and a total of 16 officers were subject to an ongoing investigation.

Almost all the armed officers, wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets, were identified as members of the Detachment 88 anti-terror squad, while several others were from the elite Mobile Brigade, police had 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 about retaliatory attacks in Poso, where two officers investigating an alleged militant training camp in October were found buried with their throats slit.

If these steps are not carried out, then the unit should be dissolved. We're concerned Indonesian Muslims will become sympathetic to terrorists if such police action continues

A consortium of Islamic organisations on Thursday called for an evaluation and audit of the elite unit, which it accused of torture and extrajudicial killings.

"If these steps are not carried out, then the unit should be dissolved. We're concerned Indonesian Muslims will become sympathetic to terrorists if such police action continues," said Din Syamsuddin, chair of the country's second-largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah.

Detachment 88 was set up with US and Australian help after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 including 11 Hong Kong residents, followed by a string of other deadly attacks targeting westerners mostly blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah. It has been on the frontline of a crackdown that has weakened key militant networks.

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