Indonesia: Human rights agency finds evidence of torture in illegal ‘rehab facility’


Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday said it had found evidence of torture of caged men at an illegal drug rehab facility run by a powerful local official.

Anti-corruption investigators probing Terbit Rencana Perangin-Angin, the head of Langkat district in North Sumatra province, found dozens of men locked up in barred cells at the official’s residential compound.

Local police who conducted the raid on 18 January said at the time the cells were an unregistered drug rehab center that had been operating for the past decade.

While a police probe was underway, the National Commission on Human Rights investigated whether the caging of the men amounted to slavery. It found that those held there were subjected to violence, including whipping, crushing injuries to the feet and having their nails forcibly removed.

“The cages are where torture, violence and humiliation took place,” commissioner Choirul Anam told reporters. “There are at least 26 different forms of torture, violence.”

He added that six people are believed to have died at the facility, where evidence of slavery, human trafficking and forced labor at Perangin-Angin’s oil palm plantation had also been found.

More than 650 people are believed to have been held at the facility since its establishment in 2010, but the rights commission said it was unable to verify the exact number. It confirmed that at least 57 men were at the site when the raid took place in January.

The commission said it will be monitoring the case, which is now with police.

National police and government officials were unavailable for comment despite attempts on Wednesday to reach them.

“Our recommendation to the police is to enforce the law for all those involved,” Commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara said. “This is not only about human rights violations, but there are also indications of criminal acts.” (Source: Arab News)