The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, August 14 2013, 8:47 AM
A 17-year-old boy accused of stealing a motorcycle in Toboali, South Bangka, has claimed that five police investigators gave him electric shocks during questioning at the South Bangka Police precinct office in Bangka Belitung province.
His parents, who reported the case to the National Commission on Child Protection (KPAI), said that the police also had sprayed his genitals with water mixed with chili peppers.
“My husband and I visited my son at the South Bangka Police precinct office at the end of last month. We figured out that he had been tortured badly,” Suharnaini told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Suharnaini said that her son, identified by the authorities only as JP because he was a minor, had told her about the torture because he could not bear the pain anymore. JP revealed that he had been given electric shocks five times and had endured other forms of physical abuse, including being beaten and kicked, during the interrogation.
“He told me that the five investigators had beaten him so badly that he had vomited blood. We, as his parents, can accept that our son was arrested because of his actions, but we can’t tolerate the violence. We want the officers punished,” she said.
KPAI commissioner, Muhammad Ihsan, said that JP’s case was concrete evidence of violence toward children undergoing questioning by police officers. “Children are very vulnerable to physical abuse during questioning sessions,” he said. “Police or investigators are in the habit of using violence in order to get confessions,” he said.
The KPAI has reported that as of August, there had been 5,404 criminal cases involving juveniles this year throughout the country, and that 50 percent of them dealt with children under 12 years old. KPAI said that it had recorded 5,358 cases last year, which was slightly lower than the 5,532 cases in 2011. “Most of the children who get arrested are boys,” he said.
He added that the KPAI also reported that 70 children experienced torture during interrogations from January last year to March this year. “The methods are all the same. The investigators shock the children’s fingers and genitals, hit them in the stomach, beat them with hard objects or threaten them with guns,” he said.
Deputy director of Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) Restaria Hutabarat pointed out that the criminal and judicial processes were not friendly to children, hence the abuses, especially physical violence during questioning.
“Children’s rights violations often happen within the system, with law enforcers as the main violators,” she said.
Restaria added that in 2012, the institute reported that 90 percent of children facing judicial proceedings in Jakarta had not received assistance from either relatives or lawyers. “As a result, many violations happened against these children, including being arrested without legal grounds and being forced to confess to something,” she said.
Restaria said that the use of violence against children during interrogations violated the Juvenile Justice System Law No. 11/2012, which aimed to protect children’s rights during the criminal investigations and promoted restorative justice for children facing the law.
“According to the law, each child who faces legal or court procedures has the right to due process without torture or ill treatment, as well as inhumane or demeaning incidents,” she said.
Meanwhile, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that investigators were not allowed to use violence when interrogating suspects, especially children, as it violated human rights.
“Every investigator should understand the Juvenile Justice System Law, which stipulates that children involved in crimes should have access to alternative dispute resolution procedures,” he said.
He added that the resolution highlighted that education measures should be applied when dealing with juveniles. (tam)