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Police shooting victims 'must get justice'

Group demands probe into violent end to protest on Sumbawa island

  • Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • January 17, 2012
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An environmental group today demanded compensation for victims of police shootings in December during a protest against gold exploration by an Australian mining firm on Sumbawa island in West Nusa Tenggara province.

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment also demanded an inquiry into the police action at Sape port, which killed three people and injured at least 29 others on December 24.

Police say they were forced to act because the protesters had been blockading Sape for several days and were disrupting vital transportation links between Sumbawa and the island of Flores.

But forum spokesman Irhash Ahmady said today the protest had been peaceful and the police response was heavy-handed.

He alleged the attack was planned, suggesting that police were acting in collusion with Arc Exploration, the Australian company.

“The police must have had a motive,” he added.

He called on the Indonesian government to form a fact-finding team to investigate the case and that a similar investigation be conducted done by the National Human Rights Commission.

“We also ask the police to take firm action against officers working on behalf of any companies,” he said.

Forum members later signed a statement, also signed by more than 50 rights groups from around the world, condemning what they called police brutality on Sumbawa.

On its website yesterday, the forum also demanded the Australian government investigate Arc Exploration’s role in the violence and possible graft concerning the company and the police.


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