Laborer allegedly kidnapped and tortured by Palembang police, forced to confess to rape

Photo: media library
Photo: media library

Haris Ismail AKA Ujang, a 25-year-old laborer, was allegedly abducted and tortured by police officers on Thursday evening last week in the South Sumatra capital of Palembang.

According to reports, Haris was at his coworker Krisna’s home, located in Kamal Village in the Pemulutan Barat Sub-district of Ogan Ilir Regency, after they had both just gotten back from their job at the Kapal Betung Highway project site. Haris was suddenly nabbed by several police officers, who have yet to be identified, when he went out to buy cigarettes at a nearby warung (kiosk). His arrest was witnessed by locals who were at and around the warung, including Krisna.

“I saw a lot of men taking Haris, there were about two cars and three motorcycles. I asked them what they were going do to Haris, and they said ‘We will bring him to the police station’. I was really confused as to what Haris did wrong, because we just got home from carrying stones in Kayuagung,” Krisna said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia today

Another witness, identified as 36-year-old D, said he was sitting in front of the warung when he heard three gunshots. He immediately went home out of fear for his safety, but he said he saw residents forming a crowd near the warung upon hearing the gunshots.

“They shouted ‘stop, stop’. At that time Haris already got his cigarettes and was riding his motorcycle. He was forced to get into a car, I saw it from inside my home because I was afraid of [getting hit by] stray gunshot,” D said.

The officers dispersed the crowd and took Haris away in their car.

Haris, who’s currently recovering at a Palembang hospital, told CNN Indonesia that while blindfolded in the car, the officers demanded that he confess to the rape of a midwife, identified by her initial Y. Haris refused, saying he knew nothing about the case. He said he was beaten in the car throughout the ride.

“I was forced to admit [to being Y’s rapist]. I denied them, I answered no. I was in the car for about one hour, with my hands tied,” Haris said.

One hour after the alleged abduction, residents of Rambutan Sub-district in Banyuasin Regency found Haris left on the side of the road. He was half-conscious, bruised and battered, with marks from his hands being tied. The residents brought Haris to the local police and eventually the hospital for treatment.

Haris’ family have reported the alleged abduction to the South Sumatra Police. His father, Hayan, said they don’t know the alleged rape victim Y, who was reportedly raped on Feb 18 in Simpang Pelabuhan Dalam Village, some 25 kilometers away from where Haris lives.

The family expressed hope that the police would conduct a thorough investigation into the abuse suffered by Haris, who they described as the “backbone of the family”.

South Sumatra Police Chief General Inspector Zulkarnain Adinegara said they will further investigate both cases and are taking Haris’ claims seriously.

“I think the suspects are police officers, because there’s no way thugs could abduct someone and force them to admit to being a rapist. The victim couldn’t explain who they were or what unit they’re from. I will not cover up this case. If it’s proven that police officers were indeed behind this, that will be our disgrace. We will find the suspects, including the [suspect of the] alleged rape as long as it remains in accordance with juridical, ethical, and technical aspects,” Zulkarnain told CNN Indonesia on Sunday.

On the alleged rape of Y, Zulkarnain said investigators are still waiting on the results of a medical examination of the victim before proceeding with the investigation.

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