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Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, A/HRC/10/44/Add.4, 17 February 2009: Indonesia

92. Indonesia, Date: 31/10/08

Allegations transmitted

On 22 January 2007, Mr. H. and his partner were assaulted by approximately 16 civilians while they were at their home. On 23 January, they were taken to the Bandaraya Aceh Sector Police at about 1:230 a.m., where they were severely beaten and sexually abused by police officers. When the investigation process was set in motion, the prosecutor treated the case as a minor offence. On 8 October 2008, the Bandaraya Aceh District Police summoned Mr. H. to give testimony at the Banda Aceh District Court. The trial against four police officers took place that same day. During the trial, the judge did not examine the perpetrated acts of torture but rather focused on the sexual orientation of Mr. H. He gave the impression that the accused should be allowed to beat and assault the victim on the grounds of his different sexual orientation. After Mr. H. gave his testimony, all of the accused accepted it without objection. The court sentenced the four defendants to three month imprisonment, six months probation and a fine of IDR 1.000 (0.1 USD) for “minor maltreatment”. Since the charge was a minor offense, the victim has no right to appeal. In its reasoning for the light punishment, the court stated that the police officers had committed a minor offence, had confessed their acts, both parties had forgiven each other and they were needed by their country.

Government Response

By letter dated 15/12/08, the Government of Indonesia indicated that Mr. H., an NGO worker, was said to have a male lover who went by the name of Mr. F. On 22 January 2008, Mr. H and Mr. F were allegedly assaulted by about 16 civilians while they were at home together at the second floor of a coffee shop in Lamgalang Village, regency of Banda Aceh, allegedly having intercourse. At the time, it was said that the assault was a direct result of the disapproval felt in their community for their sexual misconduct which contravened the local laws, traditions and religious values. The police came and allegedly asked them to sign a letter addressed to the Lamgalang Head of the Village informing him that they would not repeat their homosexual actions in the future in that village. On 23 January 2007, the two were arrested by the Banda Raya Aceh Sector Police at approximately 1:30 a.m. and were taken to the local police station in Banda Aceh. The arrest was linked to their public disorder. Following their arrest, there were allegations that they had been mistreated while in police custody.

During his trial, Mr. H. was requested to give testimony before the Banda Aceh District Court on 8 October. As homosexuality is considered a crime in the legislation in Aceh, the judge advised him to “turn away” from this legal violation. Regarding the allegations of torture and mistreatment, it is illicit for authority figures to misuse their power to the detriment of detainees. As a result, four police officers were placed on trial, R. H, W. P, W. S. and A. They did not deny the accusation and later apologized to Mr. H. They were also sentenced them to three years’ imprisonment, with six months of probation and a fine of IDR 1.000.

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