Five police officers have been sentenced to six months in prison for ill-treating and extorting Mr Ahmad Widodo in the town of Manokwari, Papua Barat Province. The judges of the Manokwari District Court found the officers guilty of committing theft with violence under aggravating circumstances.
The officers, Mr Isak Aser Sabrandi, Mr Edi Rahman, Mr Michael Syamson Sianturi, Mr Rivaldi Windu Wardhana Makaita, and Mr Hans Dither Sawek Lompe (see photo on top, source: Jubi), were convicted based on convincing evidence. The case arose from the arbitrary arrest of Mr Widodo, whom the officers accused of drug-related offences. When Widodo denied any wrongdoing, the officers tortured him. Mr Widodo sustained injuries and vomited blood because of the police violence.
The persecution of Ahmad Widodo highlights serious misconduct within the police force, including false accusations, arbitrary arrest, disproportionate use of violence against suspects, and extortion. The court’s decision to convict and sentence the officers underscores the importance of accountability and the rule of law.
The verdict is a positive step towards addressing the widespread impunity in West Papua. Most cases of police violence in Indonesia are processed through police-internal disciplinary hearings. These hearings are not accessible to the victims or their relatives. The disciplinary sanctions are often disproportionately lenient in comparison to the severity of the crime. The outcome of the internal proceedings is usually neither communicated to the public nor the victims or their relatives.
On 8 April 2023, five police members tortured Mr Ahmad Widodo in the town of Manokwari, Papua Barat Province. The officers stopped Mr Widodo because he was riding a motorcycle without a helmet. The police officers claim that Mr Widodo allegedly tried to escape. According to the Manokwari Police Chief, Parasian H Gultom, Mr Widodo resisted the arrest and insulted the police officers. Thereupon, the officers tortured Mr Widodo and forced him to give money to the officer, which he had to withdraw from an ATM. Mr Widodo sustained bruises on the face and the body because of the torture.