INDONESIA: Independent autopsy reveals anti-terror unit tortured victim to death

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the death of Mr. Siyono while in the custody of Indonesia’s anti-terror police unit (Densus 88). Without proper investigation or court verdict, the police arrested Siyono on allegations of terrorism and tortured him to death. Subsequently, the police gave money as compensation to Siyono’s wife.


The police arrested Siyono on 10 March 2016, and informed Siyono’s wife that her husband has passed away on March 11. At the end of March, the police gave IDR 100.000.000 (one hundred million rupiah) equal to USD 7,619 to Siyono’s family, an alleged terrorist who died under suspicious circumstances in police custody (the media had previously reported the amount as IDR 200.000.000). According to the police, the money is aid to the family, not any kind of bribe.

Siyono’s wife then took the money to Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization. She requested the group to take up her husband’s case and get an independent autopsy done on his body, which had already been buried, in order to ascertain the true cause of his death.

Muhammadiyah organized independent doctors from various hospitals to conduct Siyono’s autopsy, after digging up his grave in Pogung village, Cawas, Klaten, Central Java. To legitimize the autopsy, Muhammadiyah invited the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to monitor the process. The police were also informed of the independent autopsy.

The result of the autopsy was announced by Muhammadiyah together with Komnas HAM and other civil society organizations. According to the doctors, there were no bullet wounds on the body, but Siyono had been hit by a blunt object that broke five ribs on the left side and one on the right side of his chest. One of the bones pierced his heart, which led to his death. Another wound was also found on his head. The result of the autopsy emphasizes that the police had lied in saying that Siyono died from fighting against Densus 88 personnel.


Since its establishment in 2003 after the 2002 Bali bombing, the anti-terror police unit (Densus 88) has conducted various anti-terror operations, resulting in the death of countless people. According to local sources, approximately 121 innocent people have died in Densus 88’s operations.

Over the last ten years, there has been no effective control upon the Densus 88. There has been no evaluation of the anti-terror war or the Unit’s standard operational procedure. Siyono’s case is only one of the controversial cases that have occurred, which have never been seriously investigated by the police. Rather, the police are kept busy with media clarifications that Densus 88 did not violate its standard operational procedure.


Please write to the authorities listed below, asking them to ensure that proper investigation is conducted into the death of Siyono. Further, the government and the parliament must evaluate the performance of Densus 88 without undue delay. Moreover, the government should ensure that adequate remedy is provided to Siyono’s family.

The AHRC will write a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment calling for their intervention into this matter.

Source: Human Rights