Indonesia police apologise for using snake in Papua interrogation

Elias Hubbard
February 11, 2019

Police have said sorry after officers pushed a snake towards an alleged "thief" while his hands were tied behind his back - in an effort to make him confess.

In the 80-second video, a two-metre long brown coloured snake is shown wrapped around the neck and torso of the suspect, who is also handcuffed.

A policeman could be heard asking the suspect, "How many times have you stolen a cellphone?".

During the video, a voice can be heard ordering the man to open his eyes and at one stage threatens to put the snake into his mouth and under his pants. The unidentified voice also threatens to put the snake in the suspect's mouth and down his trousers.

As well as apologising, Papua police said that the officers involved in the incident had been relocated for work and were being investigated. He vowed that any violations of the law or code of conduct uncovered would be punished.

A lawyer, who advocates for human rights in Papua, Veronica Koman, said police often used snakes while interrogating Papuans, including those arrested for suspected separatist activities.

"We apologise for the incident", Kamal told The Associated Press. "Institutionally we do not recognize such an unprofessional method of interrogation, and we guarantee that such an inhuman method will not happen again in the future".

Koman said the use of a snake is just one of the ways police and military personnel terrorize Papuan detainees as part of a racist campaign against indigenous citizens, the AP explained.

Papuan separatists have fought since the 60s for independence following annexation of the resource-rich border areas of the country by Indonesia in 1969.

Indonesian security forces have been repeatedly accused of using excessive force and committing rights abuses against Papua's ethnic Melanesian population including extrajudicial killings of activists and peaceful protestors.

Police and military have carried out a sweeping crackdown on independence supporters after rebel fighters in December killed 19 people working on a construction site for the trans-Papua highway.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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