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Man beat to death while in police detention

Police and Company Security Guard beat a man to Death while in Police detention

A man was beaten to death while in police detention by a local police officer and a man working for the Astra Group as head of security. The assault took place on New Year’s Eve in Okaba near Merauke. The Astra Group has plans for a massive sugar cane plantation which has met with opposition from local residents.

Papuan news website Umaginews.com reported that as a result of being beaten by police and security guards, the victim, a local resident known as Roby, suffered severe head trauma and his body was covered with blood. He died on the spot. This news was communicated by a local resident, Simon P, through Facebook.

In the Umaginews article Simon expressed the hope that NGOs, Human Rights Defenders, the National Human Rights Commission, Church Organisations, Journalists, and Papuan Activists would support efforts to advocate for this case in which a local resident had been killed by law enforcement officers, members of the Indonesian Police Force.

“The community need support if we are to bring accusations in this case”, Simon’s message continued.

Later communication with residents of Okaba confirmed the incident and offered some additional details:

Roby was originally from Sanggase village, and was being detained at Okaba police station because he was drunk, when he was set upon and beaten until black and blue by a local police officer called Max and an Astra security guard called Andri Paat. The victim was rushed to the local clinic, but his life could not be saved.

It is still not clear what was the cause of the assault, but it is plausible that this violence has some connection with the presence of a sugar plantation company in the area. PT Dharma Agro Lestari, a subsidiary of the Astra Group, is currently engaged in negotiations with local people to use their customary land. The victim was one of those opposing Astra’s operations, while Andri Paat, a local resident who had previously deserted the army, was employed to support the company.

As of Saturday afternoon, the community in Okaba remained anxious. The victim’s family had still not initiated any steps towards obtaining legal redress, possibly due to fear.

If a full chronology of events that evening can be obtained it will be posted here.

ENDS

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