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Soldier accused of journalist assault

New Year's Eve incident turns violent

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
Indonesia

January 2, 2013

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A journalist covering a New Year’s Eve celebration in Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, was kicked and threatened and his camera smashed after the KOMPAS.com contributor took pictures of soldiers chasing a man shortly after midnight.  

Around 12:30 a.m., Rahmat Rahman Patty and some other journalists saw dozens of soldiers chasing a member of the Maluku Police Mobile Brigade who had allegedly assaulted the child of a soldier stationed nearby, said Insany Syahbarwaty, who heads the Ambon chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

Rahman and the other journalists followed the soldiers and took some photos of the incident, she said, at which time one of the soldiers attacked.

“The victim was kicked in the stomach while taking photos of the incident. The perpetrator also asked him to delete the photos he took,” she said.

Rahman deleted the photos, but the assailant grabbed his camera and smashed it on the ground.

The soldiers also threatened a reporter from a local television station, she said.  

Colonel Rukman Ahmad from the National Armed Force’s information desk said the perpetrator had been identified.

“A sanction will be given according to the level of mistake,” he told KOMPAS.com.

The AJI recorded 56 cases of violence against journalists in 2012, an increase on the number of similar cases in 2011 (49 cases) and 2010 (51 cases). 

Cases included physical attacks, threats, and property damage. 

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