Subject: SCMP: Indonesian officers admit army torture on British TV
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 09:15:55 +0000
From: Tapol <>

Received from Joyo

South China Morning Post Monday January 18 1999

Indonesia Officers admit army torture

VAUDINE ENGLAND in Jakarta A television programme due to be screened in Britain later this week will show two senior members of the Indonesian Embassy staff in London admitting that the army uses torture.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4, will quote the Indonesian defence attache in London, Colonel Halim Nawi, as saying the army tortures people "sometimes".

It also will show another senior officer, General Widjojo, visiting an arms fair, saying, "we did some tortures to protect the security of society. It is not widespread, but we do have to do it sometimes".

The admissions confirm the long-standing claims of human rights groups about the behaviour of the Indonesian military.

Activists involved in the demonstrations, which helped bring down former president Suharto last May, have described how they were tortured in detention by soldiers using electric shocks, beatings and sleep deprivation. Thirteen activists are still missing, feared dead.

The damaging admissions of torture by the London-based officers are thought to be the first.

They were obtained by Mark Thomas, a man described in the British media as a stand-up comedian turned investigative reporter.

Thomas posed as a public relations consultant to help the Indonesians improve their image and had his encounters with the Indonesians filmed secretly.

Britain's Sunday Telegraph quoted Thomas as admitting he "just made it up" when pretending to offer advice to the Indonesians.

The sting operation has outraged Indonesian officials. They say the admissions of torture were obtained under false pretences and, as such, mean little.

"The officers were entrapped and were co-operating with the PR company in the spirit of a game, almost," a spokesman said. "This does not prove anything."

Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 1420 80153 Email: Defending victims of oppression in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh, 1973-1998

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