5 Jun 2009

Human Rights Watch calls for Indonesia to stop Abepura prison abuse

5:28 pm on 5 June 2009

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has called on Indonesia to stop the abuse of inmates at Abepura prison in Papua.

Various sources report that torture and beatings by guards are rampant at the jail which holds about 230 inmates, of whom more than a dozen are deemed political prisoners.

Human Rights Watch has received reports of more than two dozen cases of beatings and physical abuse at the jail since Anthonius Ayorbaba became the prison warden last August.

Its Asia Director, Brad Adams, says Jakarta needs to investigate and hold accountable any officials and guards responsible for abuse.

In one reported case, guards beat a political prisoner Ferdinand Pakage so severely that he lost an eye.

Neither the government nor the Indonesian Human Rights Commission appears to have investigated the matter.

In March, Indonesia's Foreign Ministry ordered the International Committee of the Red Cross to close its office in Papua.

The ministry denied that the closure had anything to do with the ICRC's usual practice of visits to Papuan prisons, including Abepura, saying it was merely a regulatory measure.