Their violence captured on video. The accused charged with insubordination. More serious charge not possible because of lack evidence, says prosecutor. Human rights activists denounce: victims will not appear in court for fear of reprisals by the army.
Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Three Indonesian soldiers are on trial in a military court for torturing two men in the province of Papua. The soldiers are accused of insubordination, the prosecutor said more serious charges could not be brought because the victims did not attend court. The men gave a detailed description of the violence suffered - in a video posted on YouTube - but did not want to testify in court for fear of army reprisals.The three soldiers on trial are Sergeant Irwan Rizkiyanto and the two soldiers Yakson Agu and Tamrin Mahan Giri. In an episode dating back to last year, they used a burning stick to burn the genitals of a man and threatened the second with a knife, while to extort information about a possible weapons cache.
However, the defendants will not have to respond to more serious offenses such as illegal detention and torture. The prosecutor of the military tribunal, Major Soemantri, said that "without the testimony of two victims, we can not prove the violence." In reality, the two men - Tunaliwor Kiwo and Telingga Gire – gave a detailed testimony of the abuse to a group of human rights activists. Ifdhal Kasim, President of the National Human Rights Commission, said that the two "wanted to testify," but they fear "reprisals" by the military. He adds, they "still bear the signs of trauma."
The violence of the military against the people of Papua provoked an outcry at an international level, compounded by the immobility of the Indonesian justice system creating no small embarrassment to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Last August AsiaNews had reported the case of Yawen Wayeni, one of the independence heroes who had his stomach opened with a bayonet. Even in this case the violence was captured in a video that has been seen around the world.
Papua, the western part of New Guinea island was annexed by Indonesia in 1969 by referendum. More than 100 thousand people have since been killed. The separatists continue to demand their independence, even after Jakarta in 2001 granted them the status of autonomous region. The tension has never diminished, because Jakarta allocates thousands of troops to the region, responsible for killings and arrests.