Amnesty condemns Indonesia police killings ahead of games

August 16, 2018

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Amnesty International says Indonesian police fatally shot dozens of petty criminals in a deliberate campaign of "unnecessary and excessive" force ahead of the Asian Games.

The rights group said Friday that 31 of the police killings it recorded from media reports between January and August were directly linked to street-crime crackdowns for the games being hosted in Jakarta and Palembang.

It said police shot dead 77 petty criminals across Indonesia during the same period, a large increase from 2017.

Police were criticized last month when they said they had killed 11 street thugs in Jakarta in under two weeks. They were among 52 suspected criminals shot in the capital for resisting arrest.

Amnesty official Usman Hamid said hosting an international sports event "must not come at the price of abandoning human rights" and called for all deaths to be promptly investigated.

"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," he said in a statement.

The spokesman for Indonesia's national police didn't return calls or text messages.

Indonesian police have also carried out a heavy-handed policy against suspected drug traffickers, fatally shooting dozens last year.

Some 12,000 athletes from 45 nations and territories are competing in the 18th games, which open Saturday.