Extra-judicial killing case in North Sulawesi in 2020- still many open questions

It has been more than two years since the extrajudicial killing of a 22-year-old man named Exel Djunaidi (ED) by the police in North Sulawesi. The legal process against the perpetrator has not been carried out. ED died after being arrested by members of the Directorate of Drug Detection (Ditresnarkoba) of the North Sulawesi Regional Police on 13 September 2020 at his house in Lolah Satu Village, East Tombariri District, Minahasa. The family found ED dead with several gunshot wounds on his body, including one in the back of the head. The case was reported to the police on 14 September 2020. However, the police stopped the preliminary investigation of this case four months after the incident in January 2021. The police argued that their actions were to carry out legal orders. ED’s family has been fighting for justice for two years now. 

Chronology of the case

At night around 11:30 pm on 13 September 2020, ED was at home with his wife and his wife’s grandfather, Mr Winfrits Wajongkere. At that time, he was playing video games in the living room. Suddenly, a group of police officers arrived in a car. The police officers parked their cars not far from ED’s house, about 100 meters away. 

The police officers then walked to ED’s house. About five policemen surrounded his house with complete firearms. Two of them were at the house’s back door from a distance of approximately 1 meter, one person at the front entrance around one meter away and two people at the junction of the path around 2 meters away. 

The police officers did not show their duty papers or arrest warrant to ED. The two policemen who were behind the house immediately entered the house through the back door. As soon as they saw ED n in the living room, they quickly took ED out of the house through the back door. 

The police searched ED’s house without showing a search warrant. The police searched for evidence but did not find any. The police officer who was at the back of the house with ED at the time was allegedly Moh. Faiz Gafur. 

ED’s wife and her grandfather woke up to the sound of the broken back door. The wife and grandfather immediately came out of their respective rooms, but ED was no longer in the living room. They did not see ED. Then a police officer outside the house entered through the front door and approached ED’s wife and grandfather. ED’s wife asked for his assignment letter, but the policeman could not show it. His wife also asked the police where they would take ED, her husband. The police said they would take ED to the North Sulawesi Regional Police Headquarters. About a minute into the conversation, a gunshot was heard from behind the house. ED’s wife, however, did not think that the shot might be aimed at her husband. The policeman talking to her at the time went straight in the direction of the gunshots, followed by two police officers standing guard on the footpath.

Key witnesses

ED’s wife, his wife’s grandfather, and a pastor who lives next to ED’s house also heard gunshots that night. Hearing the gunshots, the pastor came out of his house through the back door. He asked in a loud voice, “who is outside?” Because there was no answer, the pastor took a flashlight and approached to see who was outside. The pastor illuminated it with the flashlight and could only confirm that it was ED. ED was already lying on the ground, his condition was critical, but the pastor did not see any injuries or blood on his face. After ED was lifted into the car, the pastor asked the police officers again. The Police replied that they were from North Sulawesi Regional Police. These policemen immediately took ED away in a car.

The next day, on 14 September 2020, at around 08:30 am, ED’s wife and parents came to the North Sulawesi Regional Police. They asked police officers about ED’s whereabouts, but ED was not at the North Sulawesi Regional Police. Then one of the police officers told his wife to check at Bhayangkara Hospital Manado. Upon arrival at Bhayangkara Hospital, the family asked the hospital security about ED’s whereabouts. The security guard immediately escorted the family to one of the rooms. At that time, the family saw that ED was dead. The family found a gunshot wound on ED’s left waist. A gunshot wound on ED’s right jaw and the back of the head near ED’s ear. In addition, there were several wounds on the top of the head. And wounds on the neck as if strangled.

Witnessing ED’s condition, the family immediately coordinated with North Sulawesi Police Propam to conduct an autopsy. The family was not allowed to enter the autopsy room during the autopsy. After the autopsy was completed, the family asked the doctor, but there was no answer. Then they asked the investigator. The investigator said that ED died on the way to Awaloe Hospital. The investigator said a gunshot wound to the left waist through the right cheek and a laceration to the head. 

The victim’s family reports ethical violation and murder

Not accepting the incident, on 14 September 2020, Mr Winfrits Wajongkere, the grandfather of ED’s wife, reported the alleged violation of procedures to Propam Polda as per the Report Receipt Letter Number: STPL/73/IX/2020 Sub-section of compliant services. In essence, the family reported an alleged violation of abuse of authority in the way that the reported party had arrested the reported party’s grandson for alleged drug abuse, but in the morning, the complainant received information that the complainant’s grandson had died; 

The next day, on 15 September 2020, Mr Wajongkere also reported the alleged crime of Murder to the Police as per the Police Report Receipt Letter Number: STTLP/417.a/IX/2020/Sulut/SPKT. In the report, ED’s wife and his wife’s grandfather reported Moh. Faiz Gafur, a police officer of the Ditresnarkoba, arrested ED. Moh. Faiz Gafur is suspected of killing ED.

The police stop the ongoing investigation after four months

Over time, the North Sulawesi Police Criminal Investigation Directorate issued an order to stop the investigation. Neither the preliminary investigation termination order nor the notification letter to the family did the Police provide a detailed explanation. The Police only said that the investigation process was stopped because it did not meet the criminal elements and the existence of Article 30 of the Criminal Code on defence. Article 50 of the Criminal Code reads that a person who commits an act to carry out a statutory order cannot be punished.

The termination of the investigation was recorded in several letters, namely: 

  • Termination of Investigation Order (SP3) Number: SPP.Lidik/64/I/2021/Dit Reskrimum. The letter states that the preliminary inquiry was stopped based on the results and recommendations of the case discussion forum on 23 December 2020. However, there is no explanation of the results of the forum recommendation. 
  • Decree Number: S.Tap/64.a/I/2021/Dit Reskrimum on Termination of preliminary Investigation on 7 January 2020. The letter states that by taking into account the results of the investigation into the report/complaint of the complainant WENFRITS WAJONGKERE based on police report number LP/417/IX/SULUT/SPKT on 15 September 2020, decided to stop the preliminary investigation into police report LP/417/IX/SULUT/SPKT, on 15 September 2020 a complainant WENFRITS WAJONGKERE. This letter also does not contain any explanation.
  • Notification Letter on the Progress of Investigation Results from Number: B/02/I/2021/Dit on 7 January 2021, which the family received on 27 January 2021. This letter informed the family/complainant that the investigation process was stopped because it did not meet the criminal elements, and there was a defense article, namely Article 50 of the Criminal Code. The letter reads: “informing you that the case reported to the North Sulawesi Police SPKT based on Police Report number: LP/417/IX/SULUT/SPKT on 15 September 2020, on behalf of the complainant WENFRITS WAJONGKERE has been received. And now, the investigators of unit two of Subdit III of the Directorate of General Criminal Investigation have conducted interrogations/interviews with the complainant, witnesses, and the reported party, collected evidence, and reconstructed. Then the case discussion forum (forum gelar perkara) was held on 23 December 2020. And the panel concluded that the case stopped the preliminary investigation process because the patient did not meet the criminal elements, and there was a defence article, namely Article 50 of the Criminal Code…”. The case forum discussion (gelar perkara) on 23 December 2020, mentioned in the letters, did not involve the family and legal counsel.

Allegations of obstruction of justice 

LBH Manado’s investigative findings indicate that the Police gave money to ED’s wife and his wife’s grandfather. They were asked to withdraw the report. LBH Manado also found that residents around the crime scene were under pressure and not free to give testimony.

Information from investigators to LBH Manado was that ED’s wife and his wife’s grandfather had withdrawn the report. They are no longer even at the address where the incident occurred. Based on information from ED’s biological parents and the Lolah 1 village government, the complainant and the victim’s wife were already outside North Sulawesi (Batam). Fortunately, ED’s biological parents did not give up. Until now, ED’s parents continue to strive to encourage legal proceedings against the perpetrators of ED’s Murder. On 16 September 2020, ED’s parents appointed LBH Manado as their lawyer.

Efforts to Push for Legal Process and Response to Various Mechanisms

LBH Manado has made various efforts to urge the police to process the extrajudicial killing case against ED. All internal police oversight mechanisms at the regional and national levels have been utilised but to no avail. The Police are adamant that there is no criminal offence in this case, and no ethical violations have been found. External oversight bodies and independent commissions such as the National Human Rights Commission and the National Police Commission have also been unable to provide sufficient impetus for the Police to prosecute the perpetrators. 

a. Police Internal Control Response

In response to the termination of the investigation into ED’s death, on 2 March 2021, LBH Manado, through letter number 11/SK/LBH-MND/III/2021, made a public complaint to the North Sulawesi Regional Police regarding a request for a case title. LBH requested the Police to conduct a further and in-depth investigation into ED’s death and conduct a joint case title involving the victim’s family and legal counsel. 

The Precision DUMAS information centre, on 26 March 2021, responded to LBH Manado’s letter. In essence, Dumas said that the arrest of Exel Djunaidi occurred because he was involved in a drug case. The victim and the reported party collided so that the projectile hit the victim’s body, causing injuries and death in the hospital. The Dumas Presisi information centre said that Itwasda of the North Sulawesi Police would follow up on LBH Manado’s complaint.  

On 31 March 2021, the Directorate of General Criminal Investigation, through letter number B/499/III/2021/Dit Reskrimsus, invited LBH Manado and ED’s parents for a case forum discussion (forum gelar perkara). The case was held on 1 April 2021 at 10.00 am. The case was attended by LBH Manado and family, Itwasda’s internal supervisor, Bidpropam and the legal function of North Sulawesi Police;

On 19 April 2021, the head of North Sulawesi Regional Police, Acting Itwasda, an IIS KRISTIAN, S.I.K, through letter number: B/645/IV/WAS.2.4/2021/Itwasda, provided clarification of the complaint to LBH Manado. Itwasda’s letter only contained clarification from the investigator. 

The Itwasda clarification letter, among others, said: “Investigators of the North Sulawesi Police Drug Detection Directorate have carried out the task of arresting Exel Djunaidi alias Ute in a case of criminal acts in the health sector, especially the distribution of hard drugs of the type Trihexypheridyl according to Police report number: LP/413/IX/2020/Ditresnarkoba on 11 September 2020, LP/414/IX/2020/Ditresnarkoba on 11 September 2020, LP/415/IX/2020/Ditresnarkoba on 11 September 2020. with arrest warrant number: SP/Kap/81/IX/2019/Satresnarkoba Bitung on 6 June 2020, related to health laws and wanted list number DPO/03/IX/2020/Ditresnarkoba on 12 September 2020 related to health laws.”

Overall, Itwasda’s letter only contained clarification from the investigator. However, two interesting and strange things have just been raised. The first is that the police said there were three police reports against ED, and all three were received on the same day, 11 September 2020 or 2 days before the arrest. Secondly, the investigators argued that ED had been included in the Wanted List (DPO). If a new report was received on 11 September 2020, there was never a legal summons because, according to the law, summons are made at least three days before the examination. How could his status suddenly be included in the wanted list if he was never summoned? Following this clarification means that the period between the criminal report against ED and the determination of the wanted list is only two days. 

Itwasda’s letter also stated that from the results of the investigation, data was obtained: 

– The victim died as a result of the reported firearm explosion.

– The incident occurred due to resistance and seizure of firearms belonging to the reported party by the victim (ED) when the reported party and the team of the Ditresnarkoba would arrest him in connection with a drug case.

– The case title forum has recommended that the investigation be stopped because no criminal event was found, so the investigator has stopped handling the police report at the investigation stage

– Based on the legal provisions of Article 50 of the Criminal Code, “anyone who commits an act to carry out statutory regulations shall not be punished.

b. Response of the Indonesian National Police Headquarters 

In January 2022, LBH Manado also wrote to the National Police Chief regarding the follow-up of the extrajudicial killing of ED. In response to this letter, on 16 February 2022, the National Police Headquarters came to LBH Manado and met with the victim’s lawyer and family. The police headquarters team asked the family for information and met the victim’s witness in the field (a pastor).

In June 2022, LBH Manado received a notification letter on the progress of Propam investigation results (SP2HP2) Number: B/700/V/WAS.2.4/2022/Divpropam on 30 May 2022, which explained that Rotpaminal Divpropam Polri had investigated the family report. According to Propam, from the results of the investigation into the handling of police report number: LP/417/IX/2020/IX/Sulut/SPKT on 15 September 2020 by investigators at the Special Criminal Investigation Unit of the North Sulawesi Police, there was not enough evidence of violating the police professional code of ethics and or the discipline of police members, following the letter from the head of the Police Professional and Security Division number R/916/V/WAS.2.4/2022/Divpropam on 27 May 2022 regarding follow-up on the results of the investigation.  

c. Response of the External Supervisor of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas)

Still, in January 2022, LBH Manado wrote to Kompolnas regarding the complaint and the National Police Chief regarding the follow-up of the Extrajudicial Killing. The National Police Commission responded to LBH Manado’s complaint letter through letter Number: B-452/D/Kompolnas/4/2022 to LBH Manado regarding the clarification results. Kompolnas’ letter only contained what was conveyed by the Police to Kompolnas, and Kompolnas did not give any opinion on the case. The letter essentially explains that Kompolnas has received clarification results from the North Sulawesi Police explaining that related to handling the case with police report number: LP/417/IX/2020/Sulut/SPKT on 15 September 2020. The clarification from North Sulawesi Police to Kompolnas is as follows:

  • North Sulawesi Police examined 16 witnesses and collected documentary evidence;
  • Investigators conducted a case title on 1 April 2021, recommending that the investigation be terminated per the Investigation Termination Order Number: SP.Lidik/64/I/2020/Dit.Reskrimum on 7 January 2021 and Decree on Termination of Investigation Number S.Tap/64.a/I/2021 on 7 January 2021. The investigation was terminated because the incident was not a criminal offence. It is true that the victim, Exel Djunaidi, died because of a firearm blast belonging to the reported party, Mohammad Faiz Gafur because ED was a drug trafficker who, when arrested by the reported party, resisted by grabbing the reported party’s firearm, resulting in a struggle or seizure of the reported party’s firearm.
  • Regarding police report number: LP/73/IX/2020/Bag Yaduan on Abuse of Authority, Subdit Wabprof bid Propam Polda North Sulawesi has conducted an investigative audit based on the order of the Head of Propam number: Sprin/59/I/HUK.6.6/2021 on 18 January 2021. The result of the investigation was that there were no violations committed by the investigator of Dit Resnarkoba AN Mohammad Faiz Gafar;
  • The end of the letter read that if there are things that contradict or are not following the evidence or facts that the attorney has, then Kompolnas allows the attorney to take the applicable legal mechanism or through internal police supervision or report it back to Kompolnas. Suppose within one month after receipt of the letter. The Lawyer does not respond. In that case, the National Police considers you to have received the clarification results and the complaint is considered complete. Kompolnas, in the letter, also emphasised that the letter cannot be used for judicial purposes, only for public complaint services. 

Forensics and National Human Rights Commission Responses

On 21 February 2022, LBH Manado requested medical record data from the forensic doctor, but until now, it has not been obtained.

LBH Manado last received a letter from the National Human Rights Commission on 28 April 2022. The letter informed Komnas HAM of the Police’sPolice’s clarification. The investigators conveyed three critical points to Komnas HAM: first, the actions taken were actions to carry out the law and should not be punished. Second, the investigation of this case has been terminated and conveyed to the complainant and related parties. Third, regarding the behaviour of the reported Bripka Muhammad Faiz, S.E, the Sub Division of Professional Responsibility (Subbidwabprof) is waiting for the results of the handling of the North Sulawesi Police Ditreskrimim. 

So far, the response to the various mechanisms taken has been limited to delivering the results of the police clarification. These institutions do not provide opinions or assessments of multiple oddities in police clarification. For example, the police’s explanation changed, and the victim and the reported party collided, causing the projectile to hit the victim’s body, and causing injuries and death at the hospital. If this clarification is used, the reality is that there was not only one gunshot wound on the victim’s body. Then later, the police said ED put up a fight.  

Various mechanisms have been taken, but the police still stopped the investigation. Meanwhile, according to Indonesian law, the termination of an inquiry is not included in the object of pretrial, so it cannot be tested for validity through the pretrial mechanism.  

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: House in Lolah Satu Village (1.3563919607668604, 124.72538400679)
administrative region: Indonesia, North Sulawesi Province, Minahasa Regency, Tombariri Timur District, Lolah Satu Village
total number of victims: one
period of incident: 13.09.2022-28.04.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: members of the Directorate of Drug Detection (Ditresnarkoba) of the North Sulawesi Regional Police
Issues: arbitrary arrest, extra-judicial killings
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolation
1Exel Djunaidimale22activistexecution