(ATR) Indonesian police forces are defending shoot to kill tactics to prevent crime during the 2018 Asian Games.
Tito Karnavian, center, took to a press conference to defend controversial practices (ATR)
“We encourage all Indonesian citizens and our police officers to really sterilize [the streets] even though it is small thieves,” Tito Karnavian, head of the Indonesian Police Forces, said in a press conference in Jakarta.
“We don’t want [crime] to happen to any foreigners and affecting the good name of our country," he says.
Karnavian took questions about the state of security in Jakarta on the morning before the 2018 Asian Games Opening Ceremony. He repeatedly defended the use of force by officers in the city in the name of protecting the Asian Games.
At one point Karnavian said that police will take “preventive action,” in an attempt to save lives even if that means using shoot to kill practices on “culprits that resist”.
“If we need to do shoot to kill we will do it,” Karnavian said. “We really need to take tough decisions and because we are protecting the public we have the responsibility to protect our self to protect the public from imminent threat.”
Amnesty International has assailed the get tough approach to street crime. The human rights NGO has issued a report attributing 77 deaths since January to increased policing tied to Asian Games security.
Karnavian counters that over 100 police officers have died in Indonesia since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people. He also said that criminals working to disrupt the Games “don’t have [any] mercy,” and that police have become the victims in the fight against crime.
The 2018 Asian Games are running from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 and will feature over 12,000 athletes competing in 40 sports. Both Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia are hosting the event, with other venues scattered around the island of West Java.
Amnesty International said that 77 people have been killed by the police as part of security operations in Jakarta and South Sumatra, the island where Palembang is located, since January. The group said in a statement that many were killed in raids “occurred during police operations explicitly devised to prepare the cities for hosting” the Asian Games.
The Asian Games torch relay winds through Jakarta before the opening ceremony (ATR)
“In the months leading up to the Asian Games, the authorities promised to improve security for all,” Usman Hamid Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said in a statement.
“Instead, we have seen the police shooting and killing dozens of people across the country with almost zero accountability for the deaths. These shocking figures reveal a clear pattern of unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police, and a constant veil of impunity that taints public security institutions.”
“The police are clearly exercising a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ policy,” Hamid said. “The National Commission on Human Rights and National Police Commission must promptly launch a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into the killings and bring everyone suspected of criminal responsibility before justice, including those in the chain of command.”
Written by Aaron Bauer in Jakarta
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