Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 11:35 UK

Indonesia police abuse 'ongoing'

Indonesian police are accused of demanding bribes and sex

Indonesian police are still frequently involved in the torture and other abuse of suspects, a new report by Amnesty International says.

The organisation says some cases are directly linked to attempts by police to obtain bribes or sex from prisoners in return for better treatment.

Women, drug addicts and sex workers are among the most vulnerable.

Amnesty says attempts in the last decade to make police more accountable have not stopped widespread abuse.

The London-based human rights organisation says some of the abuses involve shootings, electric shocks and beatings.

'Loved not feared'

Police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira defended the record of the police, saying: "By 2010 we aim to be an institution loved, and not feared, by the people."

The police say restructuring of the force is still in progress, and that there is a mechanism in place to punish officers who take bribes.

But Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific deputy director, Donna Guest, said the new report showed that abuse was widespread and there was a culture of impunity among the police.

"The police's primary role is to enforce the law and protect human rights, yet all too often many police officers behave as if they are above the law," she said.

"At a time when the Indonesian government and senior police figures have made the commitment to enhance trust between the police and the community, the message is not being translated into practical steps," she said.

One prostitute quoted in the Amnesty report said that after being arrested along with other sex workers in 2006, she was sexually abused on the way to the police station. Once there, she said, the police told them they could buy their freedom with money or sex.

"Three of the girls agreed to have sex with them. I point blank refused to do either. Our pimps have paid them enough already," she said.

The BBC's Jakarta correspondent Karishma Vaswani says Indonesia's police force was previously part of the country's powerful military. But it was separated from the army in 1999, when the military lost much of its influence because of Indonesia's transformation to democratic rule.

Print Sponsor

Indonesia presidential race opens
02 Jun 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia country profile
29 Sep 11 |  Country profiles
Indonesia timeline
16 Aug 11 |  Country profiles

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific