A recent rash of violent street crimes in the Greater Jakarta Area, coupled with security concerns ahead of the upcoming Asian Games, led the Jakarta Police to declare a month-long operation against thieves and other street criminals from early July to early August. Disturbingly, police officers were directed to not hesitate to shoot suspects if they attempted to “resist in any way” as part of the operation, which activists have denounced as a violation of human rights opening the door to summary executions by the police.
Police recently revealed the results of the first nine days of the operation, from July 3-12. According to their data, they arrested 1,952 suspected criminals, of which 320 were charged while the rest received “counseling” before being released.
GIAT OPS CIPKON SIANG HARI POLSEK PANCORANPolsek Pancoran Laksanakan Ops.Cipta Kondisi siang Rabu, tanggal 11 Juli…
Out of those arrests, 52 suspects were shot by the police, all allegedly for attempting to resist in some way. Forty-two of those shot were injured while the other 11 were killed.
The operation involves around 1,000 officers divided into 16 teams tasked with monitoring certain areas of the capital prone to crime including bus terminals, train stations, shopping centers and highways.
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) have criticized the police operation and warned that it was reminiscent of law enforcement under Suharto’s New Order dictatorship.
“Playing around with shooting thieves, what’s the difference between them (the police) and what happened during the Petrus incidents,” said National Commissioner of Human Rights, Sandrayati Moniaga on Sunday as quoted by Tempo
(Petrus referring to “penembakan misterius” or the mysterious shootings that took place from 1983-1985 involving thousand of suspected criminals who were mysteriously shot to death by undercover snipers and had their bodies placed in public places as a crime deterrent. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s allegedly said that his his bloody war on drugs was directly inspired by the Petrus killings.)
The director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Alghifarri Aqsa, urged victims of police shootings and their families to report unlawful actions and called on the police to reevaluate the policy, saying that it was not about protecting thieves but protecting the principle that suspects must be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.