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Papuan tells of torture by Indonesian soldiers

Papuan tells of torture by Indonesian soldiers

Tom Allard November 5, 2010


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"I screamed on and on" ... Tunaliwor Kiwo. Photo: Karuni Rompies

A Papuan man depicted in a video being burnt, suffocated and hit by Indonesian troops says he was tortured for two days, according to his testimony recorded and translated by Papuan activists.

Tunaliwor Kiwo was shown in agony as the soldiers burnt his penis in the video, which was filmed in May and revealed exclusively in the Herald last month. It prompted a horrified response in Indonesia and around the world, and led to the rapid arrest of five Indonesian soldiers, who face a military tribunal today.

But in the new testimony Mr Kiwo, filmed two weeks ago, said the abuse was far worse than depicted in the first video.

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An image from the video of Tunaliwor Kiwo being tortured by Indonesian soldiers. He spoke of being repeatedly beaten and suffocated, of his head being crashed into a wall and of being burnt with cigarettes during the first day of torture, which followed his arrest as he travelled by motorcycle with his friend Telangga Gire on the road from Tingginambut to Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya regency, a hotbed of separatist activity.

''The next tortures were heating up a piece of iron or wire and it was put at my thighs and I screamed on and on,'' he said in the video, conducted in the Lani dialect of Puncak Jaya and translated by Papuan activists. ''It got heated up again and put again on my left and right belly. I kept screaming. But they didn't care of the pain I suffered. [The interrogators] tortured me incredibly since 9am to night to morning.''

That night, he was doused in freezing water.The next day was even worse, according to Mr Kiwo, a 50-year-old farmer. Early that day, the soldiers threatened to burn him alive.

''The TNI [Indonesian military] put gasoline and light a fire and I was in the middle with the branches,'' Mr Kiwo said. ''I couldn't move, the flames were approaching me, trying to burn my body and my legs and hands were still tied up. I was continuously hysterical, in pain.''

At this point, Mr Kiwo said he was ''surrendering, ready to die''. Then he says he was cut all over his body and face with a razor. The soldiers prepared a liquid concoction of chilli, shallots, onions, detergent and salt ''all smashed and mixed with water''.

The mixture was spread over his open wounds. 'I screamed loudly due to the pain but, in fact, it encouraged them to be more brutal and [they] kept showering me. They turned my body back and forth. The parts that were not showered [at first] were showered with chillies until the chillies was finished.''

Mr Kiwo was certain he would be executed. The soldiers repeatedly accused him of being a Papuan separatist fighter and demanded he reveal the location of a weapons cache. On the third day, he said, he escaped.

Mr Kiwo is living in hiding, as is Mr Gire. The filmed testimony was obtained amid great secrecy by Markus Haluk, from the Papuan Customary Council, which oversaw the translation from Lani to Indonesian. The translation could not be independently verified by the Herald.

Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has condemned the action depicted in the first video, and promised a transparent investigation. But the head of Indonesia's military, Admiral Agus Suhartono, has played down the seriousness of the offences.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during a brief visit to Papua New Guinea, would not comment on the incident but said any continuing human rights violations should be investigated and perpetrators held accountable.

ENDS

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