19 Sep 2005

Swiss journalist critical of Indonesian police acquittal

3:26 pm on 19 September 2005

A Swiss journalist who witnessed the Abepura incident in 2000 in Indonesia's Papua province says a police commissioner acquitted of charges in connection to the incident was responsible for fatal beatings.

This month Senior Commissioner Daud Sihombing was the second high-ranking officer found not guilty of committing crimes against humanity after police under his command detained 99 villagers in December 2000.

The arrests came after suspected Free Papua Movement rebels attacked the police station in Abepura, killing one officer.

Police raids on nearby villages left three people dead, with others alleging fatal beatings and torture in police custody.

Oswald Iten, who was in the prison at the time, says the blame for the fatal tortures falls on Mr Sihombing.

"He being the commander of police, he having the office right above the cells where it happened. He would pass by this torture chamber every day several times. So I have absolutely no doubt that he was the man who had all the responsibility on this."

Swiss journalist Oswald Iten