Police arbitrarily arrest a man for social media post in Pekanbaru City, Riau Province

Masril Ardi, a man from Pekanbaru, Riau Province, was arrested by the Cyber ​​Team of the Metro Jaya Regional Police (Polda Metro Jaya) on 31 July 2022, at his home on Hang Tuah Street, Tenayan Raya District, Pekanbaru City. He was arrested for posting on his TikTok social media account. Masril posted about “Orang-orang pilihan Sambo” (Sambo’s chosen people). Masril gave the hashtag #BerantasJudiOnline (#fight online gambling) in the post. Masril just reposted the content on his TikTok account, which he took from the @opposite6890 Twitter account.

The Sambo case is a high-profile one. It has caught the public’s attention since July 2022. Inspector General Ferdy Sambo is the Head of the Professional and Security Division (Kadiv Propam Polri) and is the main suspect in the murder of his aide Brigadier J. This case is surrounded by obstruction of justice and confusing facts. This case also revealed Sambo’s involvement in backing the online gambling business, becoming the hottest social media issue.

Masril is a retired worker at a construction company in Jakarta. In 2017 he returned to Riau, and until now, he has been active in organisations that help marginalised communities. With one organisation called Pekanbaru Kota Bertuah Forum, he carries out social activities such as distributing the Koran to residents, supporting free mass circumcision for the community, and helping after natural disasters, floods, etc. Masril is also active on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His Twitter, Putra Melayu’ has 100 thousand followers. His TikTok account was first active only two weeks before he was arrested on Sunday 31 July 2022.

Masril’s arrest was based on police report number: LP/A/846/VII/2022/SPKT/Polda Metro Jaya. It is a model A report, meaning the complainant is the police. According to his lawyer, the reporting was made by a member of the National Police on 29 July 2022. Masril was detained at the Metro Jaya Police Headquarters for four weeks and only returned to Pekanbaru on Saturday, 27 August 2022. The Police named Masril a suspect in the ITE Law on charges of spreading fake news.

On the morning of 31 July, someone knocked on his door. At first, Masril thought it was his neighbour, but it turned out that four men in plain clothes said they were from the Polda Metro Jaya. The Police immediately asked him to get a change of clothes to take with him. He was accused of spreading false news. No arrest warrant was shown and given to Masril at that time.

At 10.30 am, Masril and the police arrived at the Riau Regional Police. He asked to contact his family and lawyer. The police said they would give him time to get his family and lawyer later. He reached his nephew an hour later. It was only then that the police asked him to sign the arrest warrant, which he refused. Not long after, Masril’s nephew came to the Riau regional police station. He later contacted a lawyer named Suroto, at Maril’s request.

Masril was flown to Jakarta on the same day at 05:30 pm. He arrived in Jakarta at around 8.00 pm and was immediately taken to the 5th floor of the Special Criminal Investigation Directorate of the Metro Jaya Regional Police. Masril’s examination began at around 9.00 pm and lasted for eight hours.

The next day, Monday, 1 August, at around 04.00 pm, he was taken to a detention cell in Block A. There are 13 cells in that block. Inside the detention cell, which is 4×8 square meters, there is one bathroom and three fans. He was detained in one cell with 60 other prisoners. There he met a man from Bandung in a similar situation as his: being arrested for posting comments related to Sambo. Masril called the man “Kasep”, a tofu trader travelling around in a cart in Bandung. He was arrested three days before Masril.

Masril’s arrest was only widely reported in the media on 25 August 2022, 26 days since the arrest. His lawyer has written to the regional police chief of Metro Jaya to request that the Masril case be resolved through restorative justice (settlement out of court). The Head of Public Relations of the Metro Police, Kombes Endra Zulpan, at the Special Criminal Investigation Directorate Building, Polda Metro Jaya, said on 26 August 2022 that Masril’s response had violated the ITE Law as the person who disseminated the case and said the case would be suspended.

Masril was released that night at around 09.00 pm. The police did not pay for his return to Riau. His friends in Riau provided moral support and covered the cost of his return ticket to Riau. Masril left for Riau on 27 August 2022 at 08.00 am and arrived in Pekanbaru at 9.30 am. The other detainee, ‘Kasep’, was still being held at that time.

Background information about the Sambo case

Inspector General Ferdy Sambo is the suspect in the murder of Brigadier J or Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat. This case has seized the public’s attention since its beginning in July and is, until now, the most discussed topic in the media. Before being suspended because of this case, Inspector General Ferdy Sambo served as Head of the Professional and Security Division (Kadiv Propam Polri). He had eight aides, including Brigadier J, Bharada E, and Brigadier R.

Brigadier J was reported dead at the scene at Inspector General Ferdy Sambo’s house. An initial report from the National Police Headquarters regarding Brigadier J’s death said Brigadier J had abused Ferdy Sambo’s wife, Putri Candrawati, while pointing a gun at her and that Brigadier J died in a shootout with Bharada E.

However, Brigadier J’s family revealed many irregularities in this case, including finding wounds and bruises on Brigadier J’s body. The family demanded that the police investigate the possibility of Brigadier J’s death as premeditated murder because they do not believe that he died just because he was shot. Irregularities in disclosing facts, missing CCTV footage and several police statements that make no sense have made the public criticise the police, whose credibility is at stake. New facts began to be revealed and culminated when Bharada E, through his lawyer, on 7 August 2022, testified that he did not witness any sexual harassment and that there was no shootout when Brigadier J died. Bharada E, who is currently a suspect, agreed to become a justice collaborator and said that Ferdy Sambo ordered him to shoot Bharada E.

The National Police Chief, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, declared on 9 August 2022 that there was no shootout as initially stated by the police. Inspector General Ferdy Sambo is suspected of fabricating evidence by using Brigadier J’s gun to fire at the wall creating the impression that a gunfight occurred.

In the course of the case’s investigation, many facts have come to light and revealed Ferdy Sambo’s network. The network is called the 303 consortia and several names relate the police to the gambling business. Ferdy Sambo is said to be the emperor and is linked to the alleged flow of funds deposited by an online gambling syndicate. Although until now, there has been no clear clarification from the police.

On 22 August 2022, the National Police Chief sanctioned 24 police officers who committed ethical violations in the case of Brigadier J. The sanctions, going from change of duties to dismissal, were stated in the Telegram Letter of the Chief of Police with the number ST/1751/VIII/KEP./2022 signed by the US Police HR Inspector General Pol Wahyu Widada.

Masril’s arrest on 31 July 2022 took place before Bharada E declared that he received orders to shoot Brigadier J from Ferdy Sambo and before Ferdy Sambo was named as a suspect. Masril was expressing his view on Sambo’s alleged involvement in online gambling. His detention, transportation to Jakarta and questioning are indications of the influence Ferdy Sambo has among the police and of the ties of the online gambling business.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: POLDA Riau (0.8374335777352518, 101.43543072080188)
administrative region: Indonesia, Riau Province, Pekanbaru City
total number of victims: one
period of incident: 31.07.2022-27.08.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues: freedom of expression, torture, arbitrary arrest
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Masril Ardi, retired workermaleunknown freedom of expression, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment

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