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Cablegate: U.N. Expresses Concerns About Indonesia's Jails

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PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #3248/01 3300925
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260925Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7169
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1632
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1462
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3571
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1175
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2062
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0469
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 003248

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, DRL/PHD, INR/EAP
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM ID UN
SUBJECT: U.N. EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT INDONESIA'S JAILS

REF: JAKARTA 2698

JAKARTA 00003248 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
briefed diplomats--including Dep Pol/C--November 23 on his
recent visit to Indonesia. He said he found evidence of
torture of some detainees by police at a number of holding
cell-type jails. The alleged beatings, etc., were not
connected to politics: treatment of detainees in the
politically sensitive area of Papua was considered positive,
for example. There was no evidence of torture by the
military. In the final report to be issued by the UN, the
Special Rapporteur likely will point to specific steps meant
to address the problem. The GOI provided full access for the
visit and we believe it will move quickly to try to make
improvements in this area. END SUMMARY.

GIVEN FULL ACCESS

3. (U) Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, was
given full access to Indonesian jails, prisons and other
detention facilities during his November 9-24 visit.
Briefing diplomats at the end of his visit on November 23,
Nowak commended the GOI for inviting him and for the progress
Indonesia has made in protecting human rights since
democracy.
ALLEGATION: TORTURE IN SOME JAILS

4. (U) Nowak alleged he had evidence of "systematic" torture
in many jails he visited in Java. He depicted a system in
which torture prevailed during the time of initial detention
in a crude attempt to coerce confessions. He noted that
torture is not systematic throughout Indonesia but rather
only in certain jails. Over half the detainees in the worst
facilities he visited--jails in Yogyakarta, Central Java and
Jakarta--were tortured, based on observations and interviews.
On several occasions, Nowak walked in on interrogations at
which the suspect apparently was in the process of being
beaten, he alleged, and in one of those cases the local head
of the Internal Investigations Unit (CID) was the
interrogator. Typically, torture could be traced up the
chain of local command to the head of CID and other senior
officers at police stations, he said.

ALLEGATION: CONFESSIONS COERCED

5. (U) Nowak alleged that torture typically occurs soon
after detention in the pre-trial stage. Detainees are kept
for months without access to a lawyer or the courts,
increasing their vulnerability. Noting that safeguards at
the pre-trial stage are virtually non-existent, Nowak
documented beatings by fists, sticks, cable, iron bars and
hammers. In some cases, detainees were shot in the legs at
close range, electrocuted, burned, and heavy objects were
placed on their feet. Linking torture to rampant corruption,
Nowak said all torture victims were those too poor to pay
bribes while wealthier detainees typically could buy their
way out of abuse and long detentions. Detainees alleged
corruption throughout the system.

CONCERNS ABOUT CHILDREN

6. (U) The situation for children was just as bad or worse,
Nowak claimed. He talked to children as young as 10 years
old who were subjected to severe physical abuse by both
police and other inmates, Nowak said. Children also are
mixed in with the general population in both jails and
prisons which leads to further abuse for vulnerable young
detainees. (Note: The minimum age of criminal
responsibility in Indonesia is eight years old.)

THE POSITIVES

7. (U) The situation, however, at locations he visited
outside Java was much better, including: Makassar; South
Sulawesi; Bali; and Papua. Not only did his team find fewer
infractions, but also more willingness to address them. At a

JAKARTA 00003248 002.2 OF 002


jail in the Papuan Wamena highlands--an inaccessible area
where rumors of separatist sentiment is rife--authorities put
four police officers on disciplinary suspension when Nowak
presented evidence that they had tortured detainees.
Prisoners being held for political reasons, such as raising
the Papuan independence flag, had not been tortured, and in
fact were allowed to mix with other prisoners in a better
part of the prison, he said. Officials running the Wamena
jail and other places where treatment was more humane all
appeared to be well educated on human rights, Nowak said, an
indication that awareness was a factor in preventing torture.


8. (U) Prisons and pre-trial detention centers Nowak visited
also had few instances of torture, and he found no indication
of torture at military detention centers, which do not hold
any civilians.

NEXT STEPS

9. (U) Nowak said his preliminary report will be drafted in
the next few days and presented to the GOI, which will have
six weeks to comment. Its comments will be incorporated into
the final report to be presented to the UN Human Rights
Council in March. Nowak, an Austrian human rights lawyer, is
making twelve recommendations in his preliminary report.
Condemnation of torture at the highest official levels tops
the list. Second, stiff criminal penalties of several years
in prison should be applied to perpetrators. The GOI is in
the process of revising the criminal code to include torture,
officials assured Nowak. Third, he recommends an independent
system to monitor detention centers with unannounced visits
and an independent criminal investigation mechanism. Other
recommendations include: time limits for police custody to
48 hours; better safeguards such as habeas corpus;
independent autopsies following each death in detention;
separation of minors and adults; prohibition of corporal
punishment; and mechanisms to enforce prohibitions of
violence against women.

REFORMS NEEDED

10. (SBU) Nowak seemed fair-minded and he stressed that the
problem of detainee torture must be seen in the context of
the dramatically positive improvements in Indonesia's human
rights situation in the new democratic era. As noted, the
GOI provided full access for the visit and we believe it will
move quickly to try to make improvements in this area. The
government has demonstrated a willingness to vigorously
pursue reforms in other areas of human rights so this visit
should help senior policymakers address this issue.
Indonesia will need to institute multi-faceted reforms that
address the entire legal justice system in order to address
UN concerns, which will take time.

HUME

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