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Indonesia: Anti-Terror Squad Abuses Alleged

(May 27, 2010) On May 26, 2010, the Muslim Lawyers Team (TPM, a group of lawyers known for defending the suspects in the Bali bombing of 2002) submitted a report to the Indonesian National Commission of Human Rights concerning members of Detachment 88, an anti-terrorism police squad. The 15 members of TPM alleged that the police had committed human rights abuses during several raids in the last few months that had resulted in the death of suspects. According to the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Ridha Saleh, the government body is studying the report. (Bagus BT Saragih, Anti-Terror Squad Reported over Rights Violation, JAKARTA POST, May 26, 2010, available at

Guntur Farahillah, a member of TPM, stated that the police failed “to prove the role of a number of the killed suspects in terrorism”; he pointed to raids in Bekasi and Cawang as examples of what he called “irregularities” during such raids. (Id.) In the Cawang incident, three men were shot and killed by the police, but only one revolver was found as evidence. In addition, witnesses stated that they saw police officers hitting a suspect with a rock and then shooting him. (Id.) The father of a terror suspect now facing trial in Indonesia has supported the allegations against the police, calling the police “very brutal,” and adding, “[t]hey killed anybody they thought involved in terrorism [sic] without sufficient evidence.” (Id.)

Responding to the allegations of abuse, National Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri has argued that the suspects who were killed in the raids were very dangerous individuals and that three policemen had been killed in a fight with a terrorist group in Aceh Province this year. (Id.)