Officers sexually assaulted prisoner; police chief quits

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/02/2011 4:02 AM | Headlines

While National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo is stubbornly protecting his subordinates allegedly involved in a massive tax scandal, a police officer in Jayapura has tendered his resignation after three of his subordinates sexually assaulted a female prisoner.

Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Imam Setiawan stepped down Monday after media reports circulated that three of his underlings forced a female prisoner to perform oral sex on them. Imam would tender his resignation to Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Bekto Suprapto.

Many Papuans applauded his resignation, saying that the mid-ranking officer had shown true leadership. Some even asked him to stay at his post. But, it seems the humiliation Imam felt due to his underlings’ horrific actions left him with no other option than to quit his post.

The media in Jayapura on Tuesday quoted Imam as saying, “I am responsible for the deeds of my subordinates.”

Imam said he would immediately start criminal charges against the three police officers once the woman’s husband reported the attack.

Imam has already punished the perpetrators with 21-day detentions and the postponement of their promotions for two periods. The police chief also ordered the three to stand facing the sun from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for 21 days.

“I feel humiliated by the actions of my men. I have failed to lead my force,” Imam said.

So far there has been no reaction from Imam’s superior Bekto about his decision to resign.

Meanwhile, Timur supported a ruling made on Tuesday by the National Police’s ethics commission penalizing Brig. Gen. Edmon Ilyas for negligence in dealing with tax graft convict Gayus H. Tambunan’s case. Timur described the punishment as fitting.

“That’s [the decision] of the ethics tribunal,” Timur said, “If [his actions] were to be considered a crime, there needs to be proof of his involvement.”

Edmon was among a number of police officers implicated in the high-profile conviction of former tax official Gayus. A police detective testified that Edmon received Rp 100 million (US$11,400) in bribes from Gayus’ lawyer Haposan Hutagalung.

The ethics tribunal concluded on Monday that Edmon engaged in disgraceful conduct and barred him from being assigned to the National Police’s detective unit. The tribunal also ordered him to apologize to the force, which he did immediately.

The public was angered by Edmon’s extremely light penalty amid the persistent refusal of the police to reveal to the public the “fat bank accounts” of several police officers.

Speaking to reporters after swearing in Comr. Gen. Nanan Sukarna as National Police deputy chief on Tuesday, Timor was reluctant to answer questions about several high profile corruption scandals allegedly involving several police generals.

A police observer from the University of Indonesia, Bambang Widodo Umar, said the ruling was unfair because other police officers who were implicated in the case were fired but Edmon was not. He urged the National Police to have Edmon charged criminally.

“The police need to be brave,” a former police officer said, as quoted by detik.com

Separately, in an attempt to improve its image, the police are currently preparing to form a special detachment assigned specifically to handle riots. The new team will be allowed to shoot rioters on sight.

National Police deputy spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said members of the squad would be trained with special skills to paralyze rioters.

“The use of firearms is not meant to kill them but to paralyze people we strongly suspect as people provoking riots,” Boy said.

He also said that a shoot-on-sight policy would be a final resort to stop rioters, adding that only a few officers would be authorized to
open fire

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