INDONESIA: Urging inquiry and investigation related to the death of Mede Nurlatu at the mining area of the Botak Mountain

February 09, 2022

An Open Letter from the Asian Legal Resource Centre to the Chief of National Police

Chief of National Police (KAPOLRI)
Jl. Trunojoyo Number 3 Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110

Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220 669

Dear General:

INDONESIA: Urging inquiry and investigation related to the death of Mede Nurlatu at the mining area of the Botak Mountain

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) previously received information from the Commission for the Disappearances and Victims of Violance (KontraS), a national human rights organization, related to the alleged crime of murder which was allegedly committed by personnel of the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) KI 3 Yon A Pioneer Namlea, and Brigadier Andre Batuwael against Mede Nurlatu, a resident of the Tanah Merah Hamlet, Waetina Village, Sub-District Waelata, Buru Regency, Maluku. The crime of murder occurred at the location of the Mount Botak gold mine pit, the Wansait Preparation Village, Waelata District, Buru Regency.

Based on the information we received, the shooting incident that caused the death occurred on Saturday, January 29, 2022 at the location of the illegal gold mining pit, Mount Botak, Wansait Preparation Village, Waelata District, Buru Regency. The incident began when one of the residents engaged in mining activities saw Brigadier Police (Brigpol) Andre Batuwael arguing with Andi Latbual, which was triggered by mining activities belonging to Toni Batuwael (brother of Brigadier Andre Batuwael) using the late firing method and causing Andi Latbual’s pool to be damaged.

Prior to the incident, Andi Latbual had asked to stop using the late shooting method in his mining activities. However, this statement was actually responded to by Brigadier Andre Batuwael with a threat to shoot anyone who dared to go with him. Furthermore, Brigadier Andre Batuwael then took his AK 47 type firearm inside the tent and fired at Mr. Mede Nurlatu 3 times when he was working to clean the gutters. It is known that the shot hit the right thigh, left waist, and hit the right temple of the head until it penetrated the left temple and resulted in death at the scene.

After seeing Mr. Mede Nurlatu die, Rusdin Nurlatu and several others were about to approach Brigadier Andre Batuwael. However, Brigadier Andre Batuwael again shot brutally at Rusdin Nurlatu and they finally managed to escape. The body of the Mr. Mede Nurlatu was successfully evacuated after Brigadier Andre Batuwael left the scene. This incident has caused a number of residents to flock to the Buru Island Police to demand responsibility.

Based on this, we confirm that there have been allegations of murder, the misuse of firearms, and the excessive use of force by Brigadier Andre Batuwael. The actions that occurred as mentioned above have violated several laws and regulations, among which are:

a. The Criminal Code (KUHP)
Article 338 “Anyone who deliberately takes another person’s life, is threatened with murder with a maximum imprisonment of fifteen years”.

b. The Regulation of the Head of the National Police of the Republic of Indonesia Number 8 of 2009 concerning the Implementation of Principles and Standards

(-) Human Rights in Performing the Duties of the Indonesian National Police

Article 48 letter “Every National Police (Polri) officer in carrying out police actions using firearms must follow the procedures for using firearms”.

c. The Regulation of the Head of the National Police of the Republic of Indonesia Number 1 of 2009 concerning the Use of Force in Police Actions

(-) Article 8 Paragraph (1) “The use of force by controlling firearms or other means as referred to in Article 7 paragraph (2) letter d is carried out when: a. The actions of the perpetrators of crimes or suspects can immediately cause serious injury or death to members of the Police or the public, b. Members of the National Police do not have other reasoned and reasonable alternatives to stop the actions/deeds of the perpetrators of the crime or suspects, c. Members of the National Police are preventing the escape of criminals or suspects who pose an immediate threat to the lives of members of the Police or the public”.

Based on the above information, we assess the existence of an alleged act of murder as stated in Article 338 of the Criminal Code which states that “Anyone who deliberately takes the life of another, is threatened with murder with a maximum imprisonment of fifteen years”.

When referring to the provisions of the Article and the description of the facts of the incident, it can be concluded that the perpetration of murder using firearms can be suspected and charged with the Article of depriving another person of life because the actions taken by the perpetrator have fulfilled the elements in the Article.

We urge the police, particularly the Maluku Regional Police to immediately take the following legal steps:

First, the Maluku Police to immediately follow up through the process of investigation and prosecuting of the alleged murder committed by an unscrupulous member of the Brimob KI 3 Yon A Pioneer Namlea against the victim and strongly condemns if the settlement of this case is pursued through a family mechanism, because there were quite a lot of such precedents in cases of violence committed by police officers which ended peacefully. This is important to do so that similar actions do not happen again in the future.

Second, we urge the individual members to receive the maximum punishment, seeing that the perpetrators of murder are from the State apparatus that should protect the public and we also encourage the legal process against these members to be carried out in a transparent and accountable manner to provide a deterrent effect to their members.
The third is a comprehensive and structural evaluation and strict supervision of its members based on the law and human rights principles.

We convey this official open letter and thank you for your attention and cooperation.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

Basil Fernando

Director of Policy and Programs, Asian Human Rights Commission,
Hong Kong

About admin

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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