East Java Police Faulted After Drug Cases Quashed

Activists have lashed out at the East Java Police for what they allege is the planting of evidence and extortion of two individuals on drug charges.
“We condemn the East Java Police for manipulating this case,” Abdul Hamim Jauzie, chairman of the Legal Aid Institute for Justice (LBH Keadilan), said on Wednesday as quoted by Detik.com.
The statement came in response to Supreme Court rulings that quashed the earlier guilty verdicts against Rudy Santoso, 41, and Ket San, 21, citing a lack of evidence and the “flawed” arrests and interrogation of the men.
Rudy was arrested in Surabaya in 2011 for alleged drug abuse. The Supreme Court judges ruled that the arrest was not witnessed by a neutral party and therefore the police officers’ testimonies in the initial trial was not sufficient to prove his guilt.
They issued a similar ruling in the case of Ket San, who was arrested in 2010 after he was accused of disposing of ecstasy pills on the street to get rid of evidence.
The court said the police had failed to present a neutral witness who could support the charges against the defendants.
Judge Salman Luthan, who led the panel of judges hearing the appeals, also questioned why the police had not taken urine samples from the defendants to test for actual drug use.
LBH Keadilan’s Hamim said the East Java Police should immediately issue an official apology for “manipulating” the case.
“It will be the honorable thing for the East Java Police if they were to willing to issue a public apology to the victims and give them the compensation they deserve,” he said. “They will gain public sympathy if they do so.”
Haris Azhar, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said he had long suspected the police had doctored the case against the two men to meet their quota of arrests.
“It’s quite common for the police to set up powerless people, because they’re be trying to meet their quota,” Haris said.
Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar, a spokesman for the National Police, denied the allegations but said the police respected the court’s decision to acquit the defendants.
“But it’s true that Rudy was a drug user — not just an occasional one, but a repeat buyer. We have the evidence,” he claimed.
Boy said the police would not take any action against the officers who handled the cases, adding that everything had been done by the book.
The Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) previously reported that in 2013 the police had made at least 31 wrongful arrests.
It also declared the National Police as the state institution with the highest number of human rights violations.
The PBHI recorded 446 cases of shootings of suspects by the police last year.
The association also recorded that 661 people were victims of violence by the police in 2013, 115 of them ending up dead. The PBHI also alleges the police committed brutal beatings and torture inside detention centers.
The association reported there were at least 61 cases of torture inside police detention centers, with at least 18 people dying.
Nongovernmental police watchdogs report that torture remains commonplace in police detention facilities throughout the country. Kontras reported in May 2013 that between July 2011 and June 2012 it had received 86 reports of torture involving a total of 243 victims. Eleven of the cases occurred in Papua.
It also said conditions in Indonesia’s 428 prisons and detention centers were sometimes harsh or life-threatening, and that prison overcrowding was widespread.
Haris previously said the police had violated an international convention on forced disappearances, as well as a number of other covenants.
He said Indonesia had already signed an international convention against the use of violence, but only higher-ranking police officers seemed aware of that.
Haris said lower-ranking officers often took shortcuts and forced victims to confess to their version of the facts.
By Jakarta Globe on 8:27 am January 9, 2014.

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