Indonesian police admit to torturing West Papuan activist with a snake

February 10, 2019

The Indonesian police have admitted to using a snake to torture and terrorise West Papuan activist Sam Lokon in Wamena.

In a disturbing video which went viral on social media, the Indonesian police can be seen sadistically laughing and using a snake over two meters long to terrorise Sam Lokon, threatening to push it into his mouth and down his trousers. Sam can be seen in obvious intense fear and screams throughout the video.

The Jakarta Post reports, ‘Human rights lawyer Veronika Koman wrote on her Twitter account @VeronikaKoman that the suspect should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise and should not be tortured to admit to a crime, regardless of whether the charges leveled against him were true.

“Given the context of the persecution in Papua, this torture has features of racism,” she wrote.’

ABC News reports:

‘Police in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua region apologised but also attempted to justify the officers’ actions by saying the snake was not venomous and that they had not resorted to beating the man, who was suspected of theft.

‘Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman said the interrogation methods were torture and violated police policies as well as several laws.

‘She said it was only the latest of several reports of police and military using snakes to terrorise Papuan detainees and symptomatic of a culture of racism against indigenous Papuans.

‘Sam Lokon, a member of the West Papua National Committee, which advocates for independence from Indonesia, was put in a cell with a snake and also beaten after being arrested in January, Ms Koman said.’