Indonesian Police face backlash after threatening suspect with snake

A video has emerged of Indonesian police interrogating a man suspected of theft…by using a snake.

The video, which portrays a suspect screaming fearfully as the interrogator laughs behind the camera, has prompted backlash worldwide, and has led to the police in the Papua region issuing an apology for the tactics. The video lasts approximately one-and-a-half minutes, and shows the snake being draped around the suspect’s neck by the laughing officer.

The video, which has been called both unsettling and upsetting, was originally circulated by the human rights lawyer called Veronica Koman, who said on Sunday that the interrogation methods used were torturous in nature and violated police policies as well as numerous laws.

The police in question, however, justified their officer’s actions by saying that they did not beat the man, and that the snake was not venomous.

Koman also reported that this was one among many reports of police and military brutality in the region through the use of snakes, and claimed that it was part of larger systemic racism towards indigenous Papuans.

The apology was seen as a rare occurrence, and the subsequent justifications made by the police are criticised. The police chief of the region admits that the incident was unprofessional, but claims that the snake is tame and non-venomous. However, if some translations are to be trusted, a voice in the video threatens to put the snake in the man’s mouth and down his trousers. “We have taken stern action against the personnel,” said Tonny Ananda Swadaya, Jayawijaya’s police chief. 

Kasper Delaney-Petersen
Kasper Delaney-Petersen

Hej! I'm Kasper, editor at Babylon, and as the name suggests I'm a half-Danish/Irish guy making my way through the world of journalism. I'm also a presenter of a show here at Babylon, why not check it out?

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