Indonesia police apologise for using snake in Papua interrogation

  • Indonesia police apologise for using snake in Papua interrogation

Indonesia police apologise for using snake in Papua interrogation

The audio captures officers appearing to question the suspect on how many times he had tried to steal mobile phones.

An officer in the Indonesian province Papua, which borders Papua New Guinea, was filmed wrapping a large snake around a man who had his hands bound as the animal slithered around him.

A voice off-camera can be heard ordering the man to keep his eyes open as the snake is pushed towards him.

Tonny Ananda Swadaya, the police chief in Jayawijaya district, where the incident took place, apologised in a statement Sunday. He also stressed that the officers involved had been acting on their own initiative to try to extract a confession and had not physically assaulted the suspect.

"The method is wrong and we have apologised", he said, adding that one officer had been disciplined.

Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, a spokesman for the police force is quoted by the Independent as saying that an internal investigation into the incident has been launched, saying that, "we apologise for the incident". He vowed that any violations of the law or code of conduct uncovered would be punished.

Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman tweeted footage of the event, claiming officers had recently put a pro-Papua independence activist in a cell with a snake.

"We apologize for the incident", Kamal told the Associated Press. "Institutionally we do not recognise such an unprofessional method of interrogation, and we guarantee that such an inhuman method will not happen again in the future".

"When this snake video surfaced, many Papuans, particularly activists, who have been in and out of jail for political reasons, said that they have long known that snakes are being used by police and military", she said. However, separatist sentiments have been present ever since.

Reports of human rights abuses by security forces often emerge from Papua, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades.

Police and military have carried out a sweeping crackdown on independence supporters after rebel fighters in December killed 19 people working on a construction site for the trans-Papua highway.