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Rights body wants Papua shooting probe

AHRC says arrest of drunk youth was excessive

Marthen Goo, head of the National Papuan Solidarity Marthen Goo, head of the National Papuan Solidarity
  • Indonesia
  • October 4, 2012
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The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) yesterday called on the government to launch a criminal investigation into the shooting and arrest of an unarmed man last month by police in Papua province.

Kristian Belau, 21, was shot in the leg and arrested in an altercation with police following a night out with friends in Nabire district on September 24.

According to Yones Douw, a local rights activist, Belau and several other young men had stopped a police car while drunk and demanded money from the officers inside.

“The police fired three warning shots, which scared the young men off,” Douw said.

Police then launched a search for the young men and found Belau and two others.

“Two of them escaped. Belau, however, was very drunk and approached the police instead of running away. As he did so, they shot him even though he was unarmed and didn’t pose any threat,” Douw said.

The AHRC agrees with Douw and says the police exercised “excessive use of force.”

“Under Indonesian law, police should only use force in situations where it is strictly necessary. The force used should also meet the ‘proportionality test’ – it should not be greater than the danger caused by the threat,” the commission said.

The AHRC demanded the shooting be adequately and effectively investigated. It has also questioned the police version of events which stated that Belau was shot during a gunfight.

“That’s not true. There was no gunfight. The police are telling lies,” said Marthen Goo, head of the National Papuan Solidarity.

“We have lost our trust in law enforcement officials, including the police. How can we report criminal activities to police when, in fact, they are the perpetrators?” he said.

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