Thursday, May 28, 2009
Amnesty International Report 2009: Indonesia
Amnesty International Report 2009: Indonesia
Head of state and government: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 234.3 million
Life expectancy: 69.7 years
Under-5 mortality: (m/f) 36/26 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 90.4 per cent
The situations in Papua and Maluku continued to deteriorate,
including continued attacks on freedom of expression. The number
of prisoners of conscience rose sharply to 117. Attacks against
minority religious groups and their leaders increased across the
archipelago. Torture, excessive use of force and unlawful
killings by police and security forces continued. No progress
was made in bringing the perpetrators of past gross human rights
violations in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), Papua and
Timor-Leste to justice. Indonesia resumed executions in June,
executing 10 people in total. Maternal deaths remained the
highest recorded in South East Asia. Freedom of expression
The government continued to severely restrict freedom of
expression. The number of people arrested and detained for
peacefully expressing their views rose to at least 32. An
additional 85 people imprisoned in previous years remained in
It remained a criminal offence to raise the “Morning Star” flag
in Papua, the “Benang Raja” flag in Maluku, and the “Crescent
Moon” flag in NAD.
Low-level conflict between the security forces and
pro-independence insurgents in Papua continued. Local community
leaders were intimidated and threatened by the military and
police. There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment,
excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions by security
* In August, at a rally celebrating World Indigenous Day,
police opened fire into a crowd of people after some of them had
raised the banned “Morning Star” flag. One peaceful
demonstrator, Opinus Tabuni, was found dead following the event.
* Filep Karma, sentenced to 15 years, and Yusak Pakage,
sentenced to ten years, remained in jail. The two men were
convicted in 2005 for raising the “Morning Star” flag.
Twenty-one men who performed a traditional war dance in front of
the President culminating in the unfurling of the banned “Benang
Raja” flag were sentenced to between seven and 20 years’
imprisonment for “rebellion” in trials throughout 2008. Freedom
The Ahmadiyya religious minority continued to face
discrimination, intimidation and violence. At an interfaith
rally in June, Ahmadiyya demonstrators were attacked by sections
of the Front Pembela Islam (FPI). Police who were monitoring the
rally did not intervene. In response, the Indonesian government
announced a joint ministerial decree “freezing” the activities
of Ahmadiyya, effectively outlawing its followers. In October,
Munarman, a commander of the Islamic Defender Squad, and Rizieq
Shihab, leader of the Islamic Defenders’ Front, were jailed for
18 months for inciting violence at the rally.
Attacks on Christian leaders and the closure of church buildings
in Papua continued.
* In August, three unknown assailants beat unconscious Catholic
priest and human rights defender Father Benny Susetyo in South
Police and security forces
Human rights violations by police and military personnel
included excessive use of force during arrest sometimes
resulting in death, torture and other ill-treatment of
detainees, failure to protect demonstrators during peaceful
demonstrations and endemic corruption.
In April, the UN Committee against Torture examined Indonesia’s
second periodic report. While commending certain legislative
developments, the Committee expressed deep concern about the
numerous, reliable reports of “routine and widespread use of
torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody”, as
well as torture during military operations. Impunity
In January, the Supreme Court sentenced Pollycarpus Priyanto, a
former pilot, to 20 years in prison for poisoning human rights
activist Munir Said Thalib on a Garuda airlines flight from
Indonesia to the Netherlands in 2004. In February, Indra
Setiawan, a former boss of Garuda, was sentenced to one year’s
imprisonment for falsifying documents that allowed Pollycarpus
Priyanto to travel on Munir Said Thalib’s flight. In December,
Muchdi Purwoprandjono, a former deputy chief of Indonesia’s
Intelligence Agency (BIN), was acquitted of masterminding Munir
Said Thalib’s murder due to lack of evidence. There were fears
that the trial was obstructed after three prosecution witnesses,
all former BIN members, retracted their testimony in September.
In July, the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF),
established to document crimes committed in Timor-Leste in 1999
and promote reconciliation, submitted its findings to the
Timor-Leste government and the Indonesian government. It
allocated institutional responsibility for gross human rights
violations to pro-autonomy militia groups, Indonesia’s military,
civilian government and police. The Indonesian government
welcomed the report and expressed its regret over the events of
1999, but stopped short of offering an apology.
The CTF’s mandate prevented it from pursuing its own
prosecutions, and it did not name violators. Concerns about
impunity led the UN to boycott the CTF’s investigations and
instead resume prosecutions through the Serious Crime Unit and
Timor-Leste prosecutors, specifically to probe the 1999 violence.
* In April, Indonesia’s Supreme Court overturned on appeal the
conviction and 10-year sentence of former militia leader Eurico
Guterres for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste. He was the
only defendant out of the six originally found guilty, whose
conviction had been upheld and who was serving a prison sentence.
Executions resumed in June, ending a 14-month hiatus. Ten people
were executed in 2008, compared to 11 recorded in the entire
preceding decade. At least 10 people were sentenced to death,
and at least 116 people remained on death row.
* On 8 November, Amrozi bin H. Nurhasyim, his brother Ali
Ghufron and Imam Samudera were executed. The three men had been
convicted of involvement in the Bali bombings on 12 October
2002, in which 202 people died.
In December, Indonesia voted against a UN General Assembly
resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.
Right to health
Indonesia had the highest recorded maternal deaths in South East
Asia, with an estimated 19,000 deaths every year. Rates of
maternal mortality in remote areas and among Indigenous Peoples
far exceeded those within more central and developed areas.