Indonesian police apologise after video emerges of them terrorising suspect with snake

A snake being used to interrogate a prisoner in Papua

A snake being used to interrogate a prisoner in Papua

Police in eastern Indonesia have apologised for using a snake to torture a man in custody, after footage of the reptile-assisted interrogation went viral online.

Officers in the video laugh as an interrogator drapes the animal on a screaming, handcuffed man in the eastern Papua region.

A Polish man, Jakub Skrzypski, who is being held in a Jayawijaya prison while on trial for treason said earlier this week he'd been assaulted by police officers visiting the prison as guards looked on.

The audio captures officers appearing to question the suspect on how many times he had tried to steal mobile phones.

A voice in the video reportedly threatens to put the snake in the man's mouth and down his pants.

In a statement, Jayawijaya police chief Tonny Ananda Swadaya issued an apology, saying, "The investigator was not professional in doing his job".

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They had acted on their own initiative to try to draw a confession from the suspect, he said.

Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said the case was being investigated by the internal affairs unit and if violations of the law or code of conduct were proven action would be taken.

A lawyer, who advocates for human rights in Papua, Veronica Koman, said police often used snakes while interrogating Papuans, including those arrested for suspected separatist activities.

Indonesian police and military have implemented a crackdown on independence activists after a December incident when separatist fighters killed 19 labourers on a construction site for the trans-Papua highway.

The former Dutch colony, the resource-rich western part New Guinea island, was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticized UN-backed referendum in 1969. "He was beaten, kicked, slapped, and his head was pushed towards the snake to force him admit that he had stolen a motorbike", she said.

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