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Activists criticize govt over prison torture

Say 16 cases have been documented in the last two months

  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • May 28, 2012
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There were at least 16 cases of torture in Indonesian jails and penitentiaries between March and April of this year, a group of NGOs announced on Friday.

Activists from 15 NGOs, calling themselves the Working Group against Torture, maintained that the government has failed to fulfill its obligation to prevent torture and cruelty to prisoners.

Nine prisoners faced cruel treatment, four died without clear reasons, and three died allegedly from torture, the group said.

“In one case, eight women prisoners in the Penitentiary of Jambula in Ternate, North Maluku, faced torture,” Indriaswati D. Saptaningrum, the group’s coordinator, told ucanews.com.

In April, the women refused to do exercise, citing illness, and were beaten up, Saptaningrum said. Such cases show cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against prisoners whose lives were under control of the police and penitentiary officers, she added.

Indonesia ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in September 1998.

The group urged Minister of Law and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin, as well as police, to give monitory access to penitentiaries across Indonesia.

“It is necessary to guarantee a public control over any kinds of violations in penitentiaries,” said Saptaningrum, who also serves as the executive director of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy.
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