Indonesia anti-terror squad investigated for human rights abuses

March 05, 2013
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JAKARTA, Indonesia – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) is preparing to take the special anti-terror squad Detachment 88 (Densus 88) to the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for alleged abuse and torture, local media reported.

Tempo Interactive reported that Komnas HAM is gathering evidence and other facts related to the allegations. On Friday, video footage was uploaded to the internet that depicted dozens of men in Detachment 88 uniforms abusing and torturing a number of people. The authenticity of the video is still being verified.

One man in handcuffs is seen walking toward an open field, then falls to the ground after being shot in the chest. He was then forced to walk further before getting interrogated.

"Densus' operations range widely, so there is a possibility that similar incidents have occurred somewhere else," Komnas HAM Commissioner Seani Indriani said Sunday.

According to the Jakarta Post, Muslim groups including Muhammadiyah and Nadhlatul Ulama have called on the National Police to dissolve the counterterrorism unit. Indonesia has mounted a largely successful campaign against violent extremism over the past decade, dismantling terror groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah and imprisoning or executing key militants. The effort, however, has been dogged by recurrent allegations of abuse.

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A woman reacts outside Jakarta's Ritz-Carlton hotel on July 17th, 2009 after bomb blasts tore through it and the nearby JW Marriott. Two suspected Jemaah Islamiyah suicide bombers killed at least six people and injured more than 40 others. [Arif Ariadi/AFP]

The Global Terror Threat: Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has been both a source and a target of global terrorism. Al-Qaeda affiliates Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia and Malaysia and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines are among regional groups that terrorise their home countries with bombings, ambushes,