Indonesian police accused of killing dozens ahead of Asian Games

Police in Indonesia have killed dozens of low-level criminals ahead of hosting the 2018 Asian Games, ...

Posted: Aug 17, 2018 4:11 PM
Updated: Aug 17, 2018 4:11 PM

Police in Indonesia have killed dozens of low-level criminals ahead of hosting the 2018 Asian Games, Amnesty International alleged in a report Thursday.

According to Amnesty, the deaths of 31 people between January and August of this year occurred in the host cities of the games, which begin in Jakarta and Palembang on Saturday.

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The report also said that police had killed at least 77 people across the country during the same period, and noted a 64% increase from 2017 of those killed accused of committing petty crimes.

The human rights group described the tactics used by the police as "unnecessary and excessive."

"In the months leading up to the Asian Games, the authorities promised to improve security for all. Instead, we have seen the police shooting and killing dozens of people across the country with almost zero accountability for the deaths," said Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid.

"These shocking figures reveal a clear pattern of unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police, and a constant veil of impunity that taints public security institutions. The hosting of an international sporting event must not come at the price of abandoning human rights. The killings must stop and all deaths must be promptly and effectively investigated."

Attempts to reach authorities in Indonesia for comment were unsuccessful.

Amnesty says that many of the killings were carried out on people who use motorcycles to rob people while carrying guns and sharp weapons.

Eleven people in the Jakarta area and three in the South Sumatra region were shot dead by police between July 3 and 12 as part of a "public safety" operation ahead of the games, Amnesty said.

The Amnesty report also alleges that 41 people were shot in the legs, while more than 700 of those arrested were charged with a criminal offense.

"The police are clearly exercising a 'shoot first and ask questions later' policy. The National Commission on Human Rights and National Police Commission must promptly launch a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into the killings and bring everyone suspected of criminal responsibility before justice, including those in the chain of command," Hamid added.

The games, the largest multi-sport event in the world after the Summer Olympics, run from August 18 until September 2.

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