Indonesian woman allegedly beaten, paraded, stripped and tied to tree after being accused of shoe theft

Photo illustration.
Photo illustration.

Stories about alleged criminals being humiliated and beaten in public are unfortunately nothing new in Indonesia, but a recent case in the city of Medan, North Sumatra, involving a middle-aged female victim is especially shocking.

Last Wednesday, a 52-year-old single mother, identified by her initials SBN, was allegedly beaten, paraded, stripped to her underwear and then tied to a tree by people who accused her of shoe theft. According to SBN’s lawyer, she bought a pair of shoes from teenage street sellers near her house the previous day, not knowing that the shoes were stolen.

The next morning, two men, identified by their initials MP and DD, dragged SBN out of her house and into a café nearby, where she was subjected to humiliation and violence.

“On the way [to the café], the two men continued to inflict violence on the victim. It was also the case at the café. The victim had her arms and legs tied up and was treated harshly by several people,” SBN’s lawyer, Armada Sihite, told Kumparan today.

Armada added that the culprits then paraded SBN on the streets before tying her to a tree, where she was again beaten.

SBN’s adult daughter, after hearing that her mother was being attacked and paraded, ran to the location to find that SBN had already been stripped to her underwear. The daughter tried to stop her mother’s humiliation, but the culprits also beat her, landing a couple of punches to her face.

“When the police came, the culprits dispersed,” Armada said.

SBN and her daughter reported the incident to the police, but there have been no reports of any arrests since. In a viral video posted by the daughter explaining her version of the incident, she mentioned one of the culprits by name and said that he is a member of a local chapter of an Indonesian mass organization long rumored to be a front for thugs for hire.

Humiliating and violent acts of mob justice are sadly quite common in Indonesia, especially in rural areas. Many of them involve the punishing of couples accused of getting intimate out of wedlock, ironically by stripping and shaming them in public such as in one viral case in Tangerang last year. The culprits in that case were eventually jailed, but, more often than not, mobs go unpunished.

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