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Journalists Attacked During Drug Raid In Medan


Journalists Attacked During Drug Raid In Medan

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan, North Sumatra

MEDAN (JP/Pacific Media Watch): Several police officers and two journalists here were attacked during an drug raid on a house in a military housing complex in Medan, North Sumatra province.

Reporter Edi Setiawan and cameraman Ashar Pungkas, both working for Indosiar television, filed a complaint with the Medan police on Saturday over the attack that occurred while they were covering the operation.

The journalists said that around a dozen men bullied them during the police raid early on Friday at the housing complex of the Bukit Barisan Military Command in Medan.

The attack followed the arrest of three people -- two suspected children of local military officers and a civil servant -- during an earlier raid on Meliala Hotel on Thursday.

One of the three detained suspects was identified as Abdi Tarigan, the 42-year-old son of a Army colonel, who was shot in the leg while trying to escape arrest, police sources said on Saturday.

They said the two other detainees confessed to have received drugs from Tarigan. The police seized the drugs -- two packages of shabu-shabu (crystal amphetamine) and four ecstasy pills -- as evidence from the suspects.

Later on Friday, around 10 police officers launched a further raid on Tarigan's house in the military complex at 1 a.m, during which they confiscated drugs and processing equipment.

"The three suspects and the hard evidence are being secured at Medan Police Station," said First Insp. Eko Sulistiyo, who led the raid.

Just minutes later, a group of men in the complex attacked the police and the two journalists at the scene.

Edi Irawan and Ashar Pungkas Hadi had to be taken to hospital to be treated for injuries to the nose and arm respectively during the incident.

The assault also damaged two cars, belonging to the police and the journalists, and Ashar's TV camera as the attackers pelted stones at them.

However, there were no reports of injuries on the part of the police thanks to the help by a commander at the housing complex, who immediately provided security.

During the incident, the police were reported to only take a defensive stance to avoid a clash.

Edi, speaking to fellow journalists in Medan, named Tolek TS as one of the attackers.

Edi said he and Ashar would sue the attackers and urged the police to arrest them.

"I will prosecute them (the suspects). I will also demand compensation for the damage to the car and camera worth Rp 6 million (US$705)," he told The Jakarta Post.

First Insp. M. Arifin, who received the journalists, promised his office would follow up their complaint.

"We will look into the case thoroughly and arrest the perpetrators and prosecute them," he said.

Fellow journalists in Medan condemned the bullying of their two friends.

"However the attackers are, there is no reason not to take action against them.

Police must investigate the incident thoroughly, even though it has taken place in a military housing complex," said Darma Lubis, who chairs the Medan branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE http://www.pmw.c2o.org

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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